My 100 Favorite Video Games of the 1990s

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I originally planned to keep it to 50 but then when I remembered how many SNES and Genesis games I played throughout the 1990s, 50 wasn’t gonna cut it. LOL.

For the purposes of these lists, I made these rules for myself:

  1. No limit on games per console I played
  2. Doesn’t matter if I never finished the game
  3. Don’t talk about each game in this post that I list, just name them
  4. It’s fine if I played a game originally released during this time later

 

…There ya go. Let’s get started, shall we?

 

Super Nintendo

  • Super Mario World
  • Super Off Road
  • Pilotwings
  • Batman Returns
  • Sunset Riders
  • Tiny Toon Adventures
  • Street Fighter II
  • Street Fighter II Turbo
  • Super Street Fighter II
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
  • Earthbound
  • Killer Instinct
  • Final Fantasy VI
  • F-Zero
  • Top Gear 2
  • Super Mario RPG
  • Super Mario Kart
  • Super Mario All Stars
  • Act Raiser
  • Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Fighting Edition
  • Sim City
  • Chrono Trigger
  • Joe & Mac
  • Super Metroid
  • Lufia
  • Toy Story

…Unsurprisingly, nearly half are RPGs or Strategy games. A noticable omission: Secret of Mana. Yes I played it but I hated it. With a passion. I hated the mechanics more or less. That’s why I could never get into it and I don’t know anyone else who feels the same way. LOL. I also owned the Genesis version of Super Street Fighter II. I played Final Fantasy VI for the first time in 2001.

Sega Genesis

  • Sonic 1
  • Sonic 2
  • Sonic 3
  • Sonic Spinball
  • Sonic & Knuckles
  • Phantasy Star III
  • Phantasy Star IV
  • Wardner
  • Outlander
  • Ariel The Little Mermaid
  • The Lion King
  • Aladdin
  • Streets of Rage II
  • Golden Axe
  • X-Men
  • Michael Jackson: Moonwalker
  • Mortal Kombat
  • Mortal Kombat II
  • Mortal Kombat III
  • Ultimate MK3
  • NBA Jam
  • Sports Talk Baseball
  • Jordan vs. Bird
  • Shining Force
  • Altered Beast
  • Columns

 

…Between SNES and Genesis, I knew I was gonna hit 50. LOL.

I actually played Shining Force for the firsttime when it was included in Genesis 6-Pack set released on the PC in 1998. All the rest, I played or owned physical copies of. Back in the day, everyone had a Genesis or SNES or both. So many good games on both consoles.

…And I was the oddball who LOVED Phantasy Star III…at age 10! LOL.

 

Sega Game Gear

 

  • Sonic 2
  • Sonic Chaos
  • Sonic Spinball
  • The Majors Pro Baseball
  • Shining Force: Sword of Hajiya
  • Columns

 

A damned shame the Game Gear, like the PS Vita was doomed to fail from the start because of hardware reasons: The handheld was so powerful, it would drain 6 AA Batteries in 2 hours! If Sega took the time to solve the problem, they might have beat the Game Boy in the Handheld market. What happened instead was Nintendo learned from Sega’s mistakes when they developed the Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance and later the Game Boy Advance SP.

I owned Sonic 2, Sonic Chaos, Sonic Spinball and The Majors Pro Baseball. I played the Game Gear versions of Columns Shining Force on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console.

 

Game Boy/Game Boy Color

 

  • Super Mario Land
  • Super Mario Land 2
  • Pokemon Red
  • Pokemon Blue
  • Pokemon Yellow
  • Pokemon Gold
  • Pokemon Silver
  • Pokemon Crystal (Released in 2001, I know)
  • The Pokemon Trading Card Game
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX
  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages
  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons
  • Game & Watch Gallery 2
  • WWF RAW

 

…Unsurprisingly, all but 5 are Pokemon related. As a reminder: Pokemon Blue is Pokemon Green in Japan. I own the virtual console versions of ALL of these games except WWF Raw, which didn’t get a VC release.

 

Playstation 1

  • Metal Gear Solid
  • Final Fantasy VII
  • CTR: Crash Team Racing
  • Ridge Racer
  • Tomb Raider
  • Tomb Raider 2
  • Grab Tourismo
  • Gran Tourismo 2
  • Driver
  • Driver 2
  • Twisted Metal 2
  • Cool Boarders 2
  • Resident Evil 2
  • Grand Theft Auto II

 

…Fun Fact: I STILL have my physical copies of FFVII and Metal Gear Solid even though I no longer have a PS1 20 years after I got them.

I actually have a funny story about my original playthrough of MGS1: It took me a year to finish it because when I first got the game, the 2nd disc was missing. I ended up buying a second copy–the one I still own now–the following year at my neighborhood FuncoLand (now a Gamestop). I played it every week from then until I bought the Gamecube Remake Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes.

One of the interesting things about my PS1 list is almost all of them is a sequel. I do think it’s a shame they’re phasing out digital downloads in favor of streaming. On the one hand it makes sense given it’s storage shared by games, game saves and movie or TV Episode downloads. On the other, there are folks like myself who like being able to enjoy things without an internet connection.

Easily the coolest thing about Ridge Racer: Being able to swap in a music CD while racing. Man, some great memories!

 

Nintendo 64

  • Mario Kart 64
  • Starfox 64
  • Super Mario 64
  • Goldeneye 007
  • Diddy Kong Racing
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • Super Smash Bros.
  • WWF Attitude
  • Pokemon Stadium
  • Pokemon Stadium 2
  • Cruisin’ World
  • Paper Mario
  • Kobe Bryant in NBA Courtside
  • NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC

…Whew.

The hours I poured into this console. The last game I bought was Pokemon Stadium 2 in 2002 for $70 at Toys”R”Us.

The game I spent the most time on bar none: Goldeneye 007. The reason: Unlocking the Cheats. Unlocking Invincibility on the Facility…let me tell you. It requires clearing the level normally on 00 Agent, which is the hardest difficulty…in 2 minutes and 5 seconds(!). Yeah. Now imagine trying to unlock this cheat without an LP Video. I did. LOL.

The Nintendo 64 introduced a prehep incorporated into almost every home console controller released after it: The Rumble Pak. Sony released the Dual Shock Controller for the PS1 in response to the Rumble Pak. For those of you wondering where the vibrate function on your console came from, now you know.

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…Man, oh man.

I don’t care what anyone says, the 90s were the best decade for gamers and the industry alike. No question.

I didn’t get into PC Gaming until after high school when I finally got my own computer. That’s why there are no PC Games listed. I knew about Computer games but didn’t have my own computer until 2004. I shared one with family a few years up to then.

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Posted in Blog, Brendan Aurabolt, Retro Gaming, Review, Serene Adventure, Video Games | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When will the expected Diamond and Pearl remakes be announced? What changes should the 8th Gen Pokemon Games bring?

These are two big questions in the absence of such announcements ar E3. Yes, new Pokemon Switch games were announced and that’s cool. So is being able to transfer Pokemon captured in the Pokemon Go App. Still, TRUE Pokemon fans will not be fooled: When will the 8th Gen Pokemon games be announced?

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…Before that, let’s talk about remakes to the 4th Gen games Pokemon Diamond and Pearl.

I think it would be a safe bet that they will happen. The 1st Gen remakes FireRed and LeafGreen were released during the third gen on the Game Boy Advance. The 2nd Gen remakes HeartGold and SoulSilver were released during the 4th Gen on the Nintendo DS. The 3rd Gen remakes OmegaRuby and AlphaSapphire were released during the 6th Gen on the Nintendo 3DS. The remakes were all released on new hardware from the originals.

My guess is the Diamond and Pearl remakes will be New Nintendo 3DS exclusive. Like OmegaRuby/AlphaSapphire, they will also likely be remade in full 3D just like OmegaRuby and AlphaSapphire were. Diamond, Pearl and Platinum were mostly 2D despite being on the Nintendo DS, which could handle 3D environments. The Pokemon Company probably could have put OmegaRuby/AlphaSapphire on the Nintendo DS but with the Nintendo 3DS, they could take full advantage of the improved hardware and make better games.

That aside, it will be interesting to see what the Pal Park will be replaced with. Those who played the 4th Gen Pokemon games when they were current could use the Pal Park to transfer Pokemon from the 3rd Gen games to the 4th Gen using a Nintendo DS or Nintendo DS Lite (The Nintendo DSi doesn’t have a GBA Slot). Diamond and Pearl required you to see every Pokemon in the Sinnoh Pokedex to use the Pal Park (as well as fully access the postgame area). In addition, you could only transfer Pokemon once a day in both games. These limitations were removed in Platinum, HeartGold and SoulSilver though. In all five games, you could only access the Pal Park after you beat the Elite Four + Champion.

The 4th Gen introduced Move-based Evolution and Area-based Evolution. For example, Eevee evolves into Leafeon near the Moss-Covered Rock in Eterna Forest in Sinnoh. A Moss Rock has since been included in every game released afterward so trainers can evolve Eevee into Leafeon. Piloswine evolves into Mamoswine when it knows the move Ancientpower. You will only be able to get Anicentpower by paying the Move Relearner a visit. In Sinnoh, he’s in Pastoria City. In Johto, he’s in Blackthorn City. In every game after Crystal, he’ll help you relearn any move a Pokemon learns by leveling–excluding Egg Moves and special Moves Promo Pokemon come with and moves learned from Move Tutors–for a Heart Scale. You can get a Heart Scale from Wild Luvdisc (Use the move Thief, which is learned from a TM).

When the Diamond/Pearl Remakes are released, they will likely follow the precedent set by the other remakes and incorporate the story mechanics from the third games. In HeartGold/SoulSilver, the Suicune story events were included from Crystal, ending with a guaranteed shot at Suicine. In OmegaRuby/AlphaSapphire, the postgame Delta Episode is all about Rayquayza, who is Emerald’s cover legendary. As a bonus you get a shot at catching Dexoys, who was an event Pokemon Emerald as well as HeartGold/SoulSilver.

Speaking of Event Pokemon, Sinnoh has five: Manaphy, Phione, Shaymin, Darkrai and Arceus. Manaphy could only be acquired via a Manaphy Egg in Pokemon Ranger for the Nintendo DS. The other three required event items you could only get from a Nintendo event. My guess is this time, Nintendo will make all of them accessible without having to go to an event.

Darkrai is Cresselia’s polar opposite so they could be version-exclusive in the remakes. Darkrai is actually referenced in the postgame sidequest to get the Lunar Wing, which is how you encounter Cresselia. The Lunar Wing is needed to wake a child trapped in an endless nightmare caused by a certain pokemon we all know who is known for inducing endless nightmares.

Arceus has the power to create a Dialga, Palkia or Giratina in HeartGold/SoulSilver or Platinum. What could be done is require a player to have Dialga, Palkia and Giratina to trigger a sidequest leading to the Arceus encounter.

Giratina lives in his own world in Platinum. That could be brought back. Same with Shaymin and its alternate form. To get Regigigas in Sinnoh, one needed to import Regi-Rock, Regi-Ice and Regi-Steel from Hoenn (3rd Gen Ruby, Sapphire or Emeral) originally. You can get them in OmegaRuby/AlphaSapphire or UltraSun/UltraMoon so that’s covered.

Professor Oak makes a cameo appearance in Sinnoh. His appearance could be expanded upon to now result in his giving you a Bulbasaur, Charmander or Sqirtle. In HeartGold/SoulSilver, Oak will do this when you get all 8 Kanto Badges. They don’t appear in the original games but The Pokemon Company could probably get away with adding Professor Sycamore and Professor Kukui to the remakes for Z-Moves and Mega Evolution respectively. Lucario, Garchomp, Abomasnow, Gallade and Lopunny all have a Mega form. So do other older-gen Pokemon that also appear in Sinnoh such as Glalie and Gardevoir.

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Before I continue, I wanna say this.

The Ruby and Sapphire remakes Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire expanded on Mega Evolution, which was introduced in X an Y. The Pokemon Company gave a giant middle finger to those expecting a Pokemon Z when Zygarde’s other forms were released online and instead added them to Pokemon Sun and Moon. It felt like more of an afterthought as did Mega Evolution in the 7th Gen games.

Speaking of: I only just found out a few weeks ago The Pokemon Company released lore reasons to explain Mega Evolution being boarderline taboo in Alola. According to the Pokedex Entries for almost all Mega Evolutions in the 7th Gen, Mega Evolution puts a massive strain on the Pokemon’s mind and body. In the hands of an inexperienced trainer, some Mega Evolved Pokemon will go berserk and attack its trainer. Others will lose control of their abilities. The only way to prevent these negative side effects is for the Pokemon to have a strong bond with its trainer. The one interesting exception is of course Mewtwo, who can freely Mega Evolve without a trainer (as demonstrated in one of the Pokemon movies).

Anywho, Mega Evolution is prettymuch dead.

The Pokemon Company currently has no plans to introduce new Mega forms or expand on Mega Evolution. This is why it is merely supported in the 7th Gen and can only be accessed after clearing the main story in Alola. So, if you stockpiled Mega Stones in X/Y and Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire with the hopes of being able to freely use said forms in Alola like I did, sorry to disappoint.

In a way, it actually forces those who skipped the 6th Gen games to get them since Mega Evolution is the big mechanic in those games. At this point, you’re locked out of all the promo items and promo Pokemon released when the 6th Gen games were current (Especially the 12 Legendary Pokemon released in 2016 to coincide with Pokemon’s 20th Anniversary, shame on you). You can still access the GTS and trade online in the 6th Gen games minus the Pokemon Link features (now only works with the 7th Gen games). Unlike the 4th and 5th Gen games, Nintendo will likely keep the 6th and 7th Gen online features minus the Pokemon Link features online indefinitely.

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Now let’s speculate the 8th Gen. Not the pokemon we may see but more important stuff: Changes to gameplay mechanics as we know them.

The 2nd Gen introduced Steel and Dark types. The 3rd Gen introduced Double Battles. The 4th Gen reclassed elemental moves as Physical (Aqua Tail and Fire Punch), Special (Psychic and Aura Sphere) or Other (Recover and Mean Look). The 5th Gen introduced Triple Battles and Rotation Batttles but only for the 5th Gen. The 6th Gen introduced the Fairy Type and Mega Evolution.  The 7th Gen introduced Z-Moves.

I think it would be fair to say the 8th Gen will introduce another game-changing mechanic or two as well. My hope is the introduction of two or more new types. More so since The Pokemon Company is looking to reduce the number of existing Normal Pokemon further. Remember: Jigglypuff and Clefairy were originally Normal Types before they became Fairy types in the 6th Gen.

If I were to introduce new Types for existing Pokemon, I would go with these:

  • Beast: Pokemon based on or strongly resemple real-world counterparts. Such Pokemon include Rattata, Sentret, Teddiursa and Lilipup. They would have a Type advantage over Poison, Grass and Normal types but be weak to Fire, Rock and Steel Types.
  • Cyber: Pokemon based on technology or that have been genetically engineered. Such Pokemon include Porygon, Genesect, Mewtwo and Type:Null. They would have a type advantage over Psychic, Dark and Fairy types but would be weak to Electric, Water and Bug types.
  • Mythical: Not an actual typing but a classification for Event Pokemon such as Celebi, Jirachi and Diancie.
  • Legendary: Not an actual Typing but a classification for Rare and powerful Pokemon such as Lugia, Groudon and Giratina.

It took 7 years but I now appreciate the rebalancing that has been going on since the 5th Gen. Some Abilities were nerfed and all the Super Legendaries were nerfed HARD. The rebalancing changes done in the 6th and 7th Gens has effectively been open war against Cookie Cutter builds the internet invented 20 years ago. Most of you know what I’m talking about: “If you’re having fun, you’re not doing it right”. I don’t participate in the online Pokemon tournaments since I returned to the Pokemon Games at the start of the 6th Gen. The reason: I respect those who are serious competators too much to waste their time and mine. I’m not a serious competator in that way. Sure, I’ll level 12 to 24 Pokemon to 100 but that’s are far as I’m willing to go. I won’t digress further.

Getting back on topic, I would like to see Pokemon Abilities reworked and upgraded. 4 Gens since Abilities were introduced, it’s time. More so given more and more Pokemon obviously have a signature Pokemon Ability compared to the 3rd gen.

What I have in mind is each Pokemon having 3 to 4 Abilities:

 

  • Passive Ability: The Pokemon always has this ability is often the signature ability of the species. For example Wishiwashi’s Schooling or Aegislash’s Stance Change. Because more often than not it is a core ability, it can’t be effected by other Abilities or Pokemon moves.
  • Primary Active Ability: The Pokemon’s main Ability. Can be swapped with their Secondary Ability. Can be switched with their Second Ability.
  • Secondary Inactive Ability: Some existing Pokemon have a Second Ability that isn’t their Hidden Ability. Can be switched with their Primary Ability.
  • Hidden Ability: Some existing Pokemon have a second or third ability that can only be accessed via Promo or Virtual Console Transfer.

I’ll use five Pokemon as an example: Zoroark, Groudon, Kyogre, Talonflame and Pikachu:

  • Zoroark and Zorua both have Illusion, giving them the appearance of the last non-fainted Pokemon in your lineup when sent out. This would be a Passive ability now.
  • Groudon has Drought, summoning Sunlight when it enters battle. The effect was permanent unless changed until the 6th Gen when it was nerfed to now only last 5 turns. This was done mainly because other Pokemon gained Drought in the 6th Gen. Vulpix & Ninetales have Drought as their Hidden Ability and when you import a Pokemon from the 1st or 2nd Gen games, they always come with their Hidden Ability. Torkoal also has Drought as one of its two possible abilities in OmegaRuby/AlphaSapphire. Finally, Mega Charizard Y automatically uses Drought upon transforming. Obviously it would make sense to nerf Drought since non-legends would now have the Ability.
  • Kyogre has the same kind of thing with Drizzle. Those who want “Old-School” Kyogre/Groudon will want to use their Primal Forms, which you have access to in the 7th Gen’s postgame (after getting the Mega Keystone from Dexio): Desolate Wasteland/Primordial Sea are buffed versions of Drizzle/Drought: Not only is the weather permanent as long as they’re in battle but Water and Fire type moves will not work respectively.
  • Talonflame’s Hidden Ability Gale Wings would be Passive and likely haved to be buffed to now be active while above 50% health.
  • Pikachu is the official mascot for the brand so…yeah. It’s no secret Nintendo has been doing everything they can think of since the 1st Gen to make Pikachu seriously viable in competative battles. It started with the Light Ball introduced in the 2nd Gen, which doubles Pikachu’s Special Attack stat. Then Pikachu got Volt Tackle as a signature move starting in the 4th Gen, which inflicts MASSIVE recoil damage on top of it so if Pikachu goes first it likely won’t survive the exchange. Pikachu’s Ability is Static and its Hidden Ability is Lightning Rod, neither of which do the Mascot Pokemon any favors. Anyone facing a Pikachu will use a Ground Type to shut it down completely anyway. Iron Tail on Pikachu doesn’t do enough damage to scare away Rock/Ground types, let alone KO in one turn and Surf is more of a threat coming from Alolan Raichu. So, Pikachu would need Passive Ability that would make it viable in Competative Battles. At best it’s a glass cannon and at worst, it’s a waste of a slot. A Passive Ability that Negates it’s Ground-type weakness would be a plus as would a Primary Ability that can shore up its Defense. This is just to start. LOL.

…I think that’s enough for folks to get the idea. The point is it would add depth but still wouldn’t make the games too complicated for beginners.

Moving on, I also think it’s time to make the biggest change since the main series Pokemon games were introduced: Doubling the number of usable moves from 4 to 8. It’s time. The series has progressed enough to handle a change this drastic. How it could be done is having two sets of moves: Primary Moves and Support Moves. Primary Moves are offense used to attack or effect opposing pokemon. Support Moves are Defense, Healing and Buffs used to strengthen your Pokemon and/or team. In battle, you can pick a combination of both or two of the same category.

There are two restrictions, however. The first is you can’t pick the same move twice in the same turn unless Encore is in effect (Encore forces the opposing Pokemon to use the move it last used for the next 2 to 5 turns). The second restriction is you can’t two different moves that inflict a negative status. For example a Hyno using both Hypnosis and Poison Gas. You can only have one of them on a Pokemon at a time as it is so…yeah. Moves that have the chance to inflict a status condition like Sludge and Sacred Fire will still work of course.

I think of Pokemon that have deep movepools but are held back by the 4-move limit. Most Grass, Psychic, Bug, Normal and Water-Type Pokemon have large and deep movepools. Let’s look at the final evolutions of three Pokemon you would would often get early on in different gens with large movepools: Butterfree, Beedrill and Pikachu.

  • Butterfree takes about 2 hours to evolve in the 1st Gen but once evolved, you’re good until you evolve Abra into Kadabra and get Oddish (Red and Yell) or Bellsprout (Blue and Yellow) even if you started with Bulbasaur. Across all the Gens, Butterfree learns a combination of Grass and Psychic moves. It gains Bug Buzz in the 4th Gen but most of its moves and stats both suggest it’s not meant to be in your lineup once you can get something better. With my idea, it can open with Sleep Powder and use Psybeam in the same turn for example.
  • Beedrill’s movepool was sorely lacking until the 7th Gen. It now learns Twineedle upon evolving, making it an instant threat to Grass, Dark and Psychic Pokemon. Despite its Bug/Poison typing, Beedrill was the only Bug Pokemon that could take advantage of STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus) in the first Gen thanks to Twineedle and Pin Missile. This allowed it to go offensive against Psychic Pokemon. The irony is thanks to its typing and lacking stats, it’s a glass cannon. It doesn’t take much to take down Beedrill. With my idea, it can at least strike hard and fast before it’s taken down itself. It’s not the only Bug/Poison type but its stats make it super fragile so the change would make it a threat.
  • Pikachu’s movepool is almost entirely electric, rendering it useless vs. Ground types. It would probably need to be given a move that allows its Electric moves to hit Ground types ala Ash’s Pikachu. That aside, it would need signature moves to hide how fragile it really is.

 

Speaking of Moves. I think it’s time Hidden Power’s displayed type be shown once a Pokemon learns it. Yes, there is someone in the 6th and 7th gen who will tell you the type it will be but it would be much more straightforward to display the type once it’s been learned.

This is getting lengthy but I’m almost done.

Hints were dropped in the 6th Gen The Pokemon Company was moving away from HMs with the introduction of rideable Pokemon. In the 7th Gen, HMs and The Item Finder were rendered obsolete with the Ride Pager. It’s a safe bet the concept will not only return but be expanded on in the 8th Gen. We have yet to see Ride Pokemon for the moves Flash, Rock Climb, Waterfall or Whirlpool. There were no scalable walls, dark caves in Alola, nor were there any Whirlpools or Waterfall obsticles and I assume that was on purpose. Flash has been obsolete outside battles since the 5th Gen so…yeah.

In HeartGold/SoulSilver, the out of Poke Ball feature first introduced back in Yellow was brought back but for all Pokemon: The lead Pokemon will follow behind you in those games. Yes, even Pokemon that are not supposed to be able to move easily like Magikarp and Metapod.

My point is I would like to see a fusion of both: You can pick one to three Pokemon that is always outside its Poke Ball. Depending on the Pokemon, you can interact with it in different ways to overcome obsticles or even just to get around. The Lati Flute flight concept from AlphaSapphire/OmegaRuby is something I’d like to see brought back: Rather than just picking somewhere to fly to, you manually fly there on a Pokemon.

To provide a few more examples:

 

  • You can use a Pokemon that knows Explosion like Electrode or Forretress to blast away destructable walls and other obsticles. Since it’s out of battle, it doesn’t faint.
  • Using Flash inside a Cave forces a Wild Pokemon Battle but also lowers the Accuracy of the Pokemon you face.
  • Having certain Pokemon like Muk or Wheezing out of its Poke Ball will prevent you from encountering Wild Pokemon.

 

To take that third idea a step further, it’s time to change how Wild Pokemon Encounters play out again. SOS Encounters was a more drastic change than Wild Double Battles and Wild Swarm Battles introduced in the 6th Gen. I would only be ok with SOS Encounters making a return if you could send out a second Pokemon to back up the first. That and being able to use a Poke Ball even if there is more than one Wild Pokemon present.

My point is it’s time for the way Wild Pokemon Encounters happen to change even further than we’ve seen in the 6th and 7th Gens. Maybe even have a Wild Pokemon just want to join you when the battle begins without fighting you. Or Possibly even encounter a Pokemon that just doesn’t want to be caught and deliberately dodges or repels Poke Balls unless hit with a status ailment.

One more possability is if you have certain Pokemon, the opposing Pokemon behaves differently. I mean in general. A few examples:

  • When Zangoose and Seviper face off, their stats boost when fighting each other.
  • Most Wild Bug Pokemon flee when facing a strong Fire or Bird Pokemon.
  • Pokemon visibly react when facing a Pokemon it has a type disadvantage or significant level disadvantage against.
  • Koffing and Wheezing may explode when hit with a Fire-Type move, leaving it with 1HP but possibly taking out the opposing Pokemon.
  • Powder moves linger for a few turns and can effect Pokemon Switched in.
  • Using Earthquake in a Cave may trigger a cave-in somewhere or otherwise alter the interior.
  • Using Fire-type moves in tall grass may set the field on fire. After the battle, any wild Pokemon that were hiding nearby will be exposed.

I hope folks get the idea. Battles need to become more dynamic. This last one is a massive game changer.

One concept introduced back in the third Gen but was never expanded on is teaming up with NPC Trainers. I don’t just mean for story events but throughout the game. You could have a Trainers’ Club or Trainers’ Association and recruit trainers you encounter in the game to join you on your adventure. After you clear the main story, you are then able to recruit important trainers like Gym Leaders and the Elite Four.

The kind of trainer you recruit to join you offers different Perks and obviously will use certain Pokemon. They will also offer more help the stronger your bond with them grows.

For example:

  • Bug Catchers use Bug Pokemon in Battle. In time, they will offer to train your Bug Pokemon for you and even catch certain Bug Pokemon you have encountered before. Pokemon they catch will be sent to your box.
  • Fishers use Water Pokemon in Battle. In time, they will give you tips on rare Water Pokemon you can fish for and even offer to catch certain Water Pokemon you have encountered before. Pokemon they catch will be sent to your box.
  • Bug Catchers and Fishers will both also sell you Net Balls to catch Bug and Water Pokemon.
  • Doctors/Nurses use Pokemon that know recovery and support moves. They will sell you recovery items and offer to fully heal your Pokemon for you. In time, they will sell you powerful recovery items like Max Revive, which can’t be bought in stores.
  • Breeders use various Pokemon that evolve twice. They will offer services to help Pokemon that evolve via Happiness and quickly hatch Eggs. In time, they will offer to teach your Egg Moves you would normally have to Breed Pokemon for.
  • Hikers use Rock, Ground and Fighting Pokemon. When using Dig or an Escape Rope from within a Cave, they will offer to take you back to where you left off if you want. In time, they will offer to sell you items normally found on Wild Pokemon encountered in Caves.

 

These are a few examples. As a bonus, you will experience a boost in EXP and Prize Money when traveling with Pokemon. Unlike the 4th Gen, your team is not automatically healed after each battle unless you have a Doctor/Nurse with you. You can’t control your Ally Trainer’s Pokemon but you can influence what Pokemon they use: Once you’ve maxed your bond with an Ally Trainer, they will ask you which of their Pokemon you think they should use when you visit a Pokemon Center.

Ok that’s enough of this. This took me a week to put together. I can only dream some of these ideas happen!

Posted in Blog, Brendan Aurabolt, New Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS, Pokemon, Preview, Retro Gaming, Review, RPG, Serene Adventure, Video Games | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Fire Emblem Warriors (New Nintendo 3DS)

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…To say Fire Emblem Warriors was one of, if not the most anticipated Nintendo + Warriors Crossover game goes without saying. Of course, the only other is the smash hit Hyrule Warriors game. Fire Emblem Warriors holds the distinction of being the first non-port and non-remake game for the New Nintendo 3DS, which of course has backwards compatability with Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DS games. It only took 2 years since the console’s release back in 2015!

Fire Emblem Warriors was also released on the Nintendo Switch but this review is for the version I own, the New Nintendo 3DS version. Aside from graphics, sound quality and controls, both versions are prettymuch identical just like Hyrule Warriors and Super Smash Bros. 3DS/Wii U. Henceforth I will refew to Fire Emblem Warriors as FE:W for the rest of this post.

FE:W boasts of roster of 33 characters including the 9 DLC-only characters, 6 of which have been released so far. The cast comes from four of the most recent Fire Emblem titles:

 

  • Fire Emblem Awakening (Nintendo 3DS): Chrom, Lissa, Frederick, Male Robin (Female Robin is unlockable in History Mode but is non-canon), Lucina (Masked and Unmasked variants available) and Cordelia. Owain, who appears as an NPC Ally in Story Mode is playable via DLC along with Tharja and Olivia. Validar, the Dark Priest of the Grimleal appears as a boss as well.
  • Fire Emblem Fates (Nintendo 3DS): Female Corrin (Male Corrin is Unlockable in History Mode but is non-canon), Ryoma, Hinoka, Takumi, Sakura, Xander, Camilla, Leo and Elise. Oboro and Niles, who appear as NPC Foes in Story Mode are playable DLC along with Azura (Her Costume from Conquest is available). Iago, Nohr’s chief strategist appears as a boss as well.
  • Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon (Nintendo DS): Marth, Caeda and Tiki. Navarre, who appears as an Ally NPC in Story Mode is playable via DLC along with Linde and Minerva. Gharnef, the Evil Sorcerer who plunged Archanea in war appears as a boss as well.
  • Fire Emblem Echoes Shadows of Valentia (Nintendo 3DS): Celica is unlockable after completing the History Mode map Together to the End.
  • Fire Emblem (Fire Emblem: The Blazing Sword in Japan; Game Boy Advance): Lyn is unlockable after completing the History Mode map Noble Lady of Caelin.

Anna, who has been a playable character in every Fire Emblem game since Awakening is an unlockable character but takes some time and effort: You will need to first complete an illustration and then completing a certain mission afterward. It takes time as well. This Anna, like the one in Fates is a Bow user just so you know. The other two playable characters are the Lords of FE:W, Rowan and Lianna. They both play the same way and use the same weapon type (Sword). Everyone else is unlocked by playing through Story Mode.

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As noted above, Male Robin and Female Corrin are Canon for the purposes of this game’s Story Mode. For those who never played Awakening or Fates, Robin/Corrin’s gender can be freely chosen by the player at the start of the game. The dialogue is slightly different depending on Robin/Corrin’s gender but in the games’ video cutscenes the gender isn’t directly referenced to keep it ambiguous. Even after you unlock Female Robin and Male Corrin and switch to them in Story Mode, it has been only coded for Female Corrin/Male Robin for the story content.

Those who played Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright and/or Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest knows the conflict between the Kingdoms of Nohr and Hoshido is the main story of both games with Corrin forced to chose one or the other. In the DLC-Only third campaign Revelations in which Corrin sides with neither Nohr or Hoshido, the royals of both games join forces. So, Xander and Ryoma joining forces in FE:W is technically canon.

I’ll give Intelligent Systems and Koei Techmo credit: They did a masterful job blending the mechanics from both Fire Emblem and the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors franchises. Yes, there is even Perma-Death (optional as of Awakening). Those who played the older Fire Emblem games know this but when a non-Lord character falls in battle, you lose them for good. When a Lord falls, it’s instant game over. As of Awakening, you can turn this mechanic off but I won’t digress further. My point is to the ire of most Fire Emblem vets, the franchise opened the series up to people new to the series. FE:W is no different despite the fact it is, to put it simply a Fire Emblem-themed Warriors game.

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The game is split into Story Mode and History Mode. In Story Mode, Aytolis’ Twin Royals Rowan and Lianna recruit Heroes from other worlds to help them save their kingdom and slay the Chaos Dragon. This is the second Fire Emblem title after Sacred Stones to feature twin protagonists and the third including Shadows of Valentia to feature two main Protagonists. The difference is there are no branching storylines like there are in the other two Fire Emblem games I just referenced. There actually is a split during the portion involving the Fates Cast spanning 6 chapters (3 for each side) but everyone gets together again after that. Darios, the Prince of the Gristonne assists the twins until a certain point in the storyline. I won’t say more than that for plot reasons but yes, he does become an enemy.

Clearing Story Mode at least once is required to unlock Lunatic Mode and that’s when things get real. You actually do need to complete Story Story Mode on every difficulty if you want to complete the Illustrations. This is in addition to clearing History Mode Scenarios.

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Even though they are not a part of story Mode Lyn, Celica, Anna and the DLC Characters (and the Female Robin/Male Corrin) do have Supports with the canon cast as well as each other. Every character has abilities that require you to get a Max Support with a specific character. Clearing some of the more challenging History Mode Maps does require you to level characters to 90+. Not just 1 to 4 but almost all of them in some cases: Some of the History Mode matches do have special restrictions such as Mounted Only or Bows Only. What this means is if you haven’t been leveling certain characters, your best bet is to grind some Story Mode Maps on Lunatic for Gold, then use that to Power Level underleveled characters.

Overall, I give Fire Emblem Warriors an 8/10.

It’s a solid, solid game and you can’t help but give props for striking a hard balance: it’s game those familiar with both Fire Emblem and the Warriors games will enjoy but doesn’t assume one is familiar with one or both games. I took two points off for two reasons: The first and biggest is physical copies of the game New Nintendo 3DS version may randomly glitch and crash while browsing menu screens. The problem does not exist in digital copies of the game, only physical copies. Nintendo has released patches with every DLC release to address this in problem as well as upgrade the game. The game doesn’t glitch and crash during battles but clearly a longterm fix is in order.

The other reason I took two points off is because of the fact all of the known DLC content was announced in advance and no new DLC content has been announced since. Anyone who’s been reading this blog for years should know I have a very favorable opinion of DLC when it makes sense. In the case of FE:W, more would make sense. A Shadows of Valenia Pack featuring Alm, Mycen and Nomah would be cool. So would a Path of Radiance Pack featuring Ike, Soren and Mist as well as a Radiant Dawn Pack featuring Micaiah, Sothe and The Black Knight. A Fire Emblem GBA Pack featuring Eliwood, Hector and Guy would also work. So would a Sacred Stones Pack featuring Erika, Ephraim and Lyon or Seth. They could all work.

That aside, I am holding out hope we may see a Fire Emblem Warriors II. Would be cool and as I just hinted, there are ALOT of characters and games who could be drawn from to fill out the cast. Spanning all the current Fire Emblem games…we’re talking over 600 characters. So, yeah. If it happens, we’re talking a who’s who playable characters!

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Review: Pokemon Ultra Sun and Pokemon Ultra Moon (Nintendo 3DS)

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…You gotta give credit to The Pokemon Company: They shared enough info to market the game but not too much before its release. As it turned out, Ultra Sun/Moon followed the Yellow/Crystal/Emerald/Platinum model in which it’s an enhanced of the base pair.

There is a twist, however: Ultra Sun/Moon are the first games in which a new Pokemon is introduced that wasn’t in the base games: Poipole and its evolution form Naganadel as well as the Ultra Beasts Stakata (Ultra Moon Only) and Blacephalon (Ultra Sun Only).

The storyline involving Lusamine and the Aether Insitute is different as well. In Sun/Moon, she was the main antagonist. In Ultra Sun/Moon it’s Necrozma, The Ultra Beasts and in the postgame  Team Rainbow Rocket. More on them in a bit. Of course there’s also Team Skull but it’s a bit more obvious this time that they’re not really bad.

Mina, the Trial Captain of Poni Poni Island makes a brief cameo appearance in Sun/Moon and give you Fairinium Z. In Ultra/Sun Moon, she has a larger role and her own trial as well. Araquanid replaces Whishiwashi in the Water Trial and WILL curb-stomp your whole team unless you bring in an overleveled Pokemon to deal with it. Togedemaru replaces Vikavolt and despite the 4x Weakness to Ground will take some effort to take down quickly.

Like I said in my review of Sun/Moon, I hate Totem Battles and the SOS Mechanic as a whole. I hate the fact that Heart Scales are tied to it along with several Wild Pokemon obviously. For those who don’t know, Heart Scales drop from Luvdisc and is needed to use the Move Relearner since its introduction in the 3rd Gen. The thing is, wild Pokemon don’t always have a hold item with them. AlphaSapphire/OmegaRuby at least had a means of forcing encounters with wild Pokemon with a hold item. Since Luvdisc will only appear as an SOS Pokemon, that needlessly makes Heart Scales rare in the 7th Gen.

Rant over, moving on.

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The games’ real big bad is of course, Team Rainbow Rocket. The 7th Gen’s introduction of other dimensions and multiple universes–and you can be sure this will be expanded upon–opens the door to bigger, longer and more games in the future. While it is true that there have been specific Pokemon whose lore involves other dimensions–most notably the Giratina and Palkia–Ultra Sun/Moon is the first game to take things to the next logical step and make a storyline focusing on it.

The Team Bosses from the previous gens all appear in the postgame Team Rainbow Rocket event. The tone is the same as OmegaRuby/AlphaSapphire’s Delta Episode. The cool thing about these bosses’ backstories: Each Team Boss comes from a “What if they succeeded?” world. Or more specifically, if the main protagonist wasn’t there to stop them. Colress from Black/White and Black 2/White 2, who makes a cameo appearance in Sun/Moon plays a significant role in the TRR Event. Each Team Boss has the cover legendary from their games. Cyrus has Dialga in Ultra Sun but Palkia in Ultra Moon. Lysandre has Xerneas in Ultra Sun but Yveltal in Ultra Moon. Ghestis has Zekrom in Ultra Sun but Reshiram in Ultra Moon. Finally, Giovanni’s Mewtwo will Mega Evolve into Mega Mewtwo X in Ultra Sun but Mega Mewtwo Y in Ultra Moon. This is the toughest string of battles yet and I strongly reccommend importing Level 100 Pokemon from Poke Bank or Sun/Moon if you can.

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Speaking of legendaries.

Like OmegaRuby/AlphaSapphire, you can catch ALL of them in Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon. The second and third pictures contain the version-exclusive ones. To get the third Pokemon, you will need to trade the Pokemon not in your game to yours and put both of them on your team (For example you need both Kyogre and Groudon to get Rayquayza).

This excludes Event-Only Pokemon now referred to as Mythical Pokemon. I’m talking about Mew (can be caught in the 1st Gen Red/Blue using a glitch during a certain point in the game), Celebi (You get a code for it if you buy Gold, Silver or Crystal from the eShop), Jirachi, Deoxys (can be caught in OmegaRuby/AlphaSapphire), Phione (must beed a Manaphy with Ditto for one), Manaphy, Darkrai, Shaymin (has an alternate form), Arceus, Keldeo (has an alternate form), Meloetta (has an alternate form), Genesect, Diancie (was given away via promo codes), Hoopa (was given away via promo codes, has an alternate form), Volcanion (never officially given away in the U.S.), Megearna (never officially given away in the U.S.), Marshadow and Zeraora (yet to be officially introduced worldwide).

Most of the Mythical Pokemon have had a limited releases, most notably during the the 20th Anniversary Pokemon giveaway in 2016. Each month, a legendary Pokemon or Mythical Pokemon was released via Mystery Gift.

As of the 6th Gen, the cover Legendary Pokemon are no longer the end-all powerhouses in battle they once were. I get they were nerfed to be fair to non-legends but prettymuch turning them into glass cannons? I shouldn’t have to worry about Groudon, Yveltal or Solgaleo being handled by a single Pokemon one on one. It should take the efforts of at least two Pokemon to take down ANY legendary Pokemon in my book. Mega Rayquayza will meet its match against Necrozma’s Ultra Form, Dusk Mane Solgaleo or Dawn Wing Lunala. For those who don’t know, Mega Rayquayza is considered the single most powerful Pokemon of the 6th Gen because of all the things it has going for it.

The nerf to Sandstorm, Snow Warning, Drizzle and Drought in the 5th Gen I get. For those who don’t know, Pokemon with one of those abilities would summon Sand/Storm, Rain or Sunlight for the rest of the battle. The moves were nerfed to only last for 5 turns with the exception of Primal Groudon/Kyogre (Sunlight/Rain lasts while said Pokemon is in the battle). Nerfing the weather mechanics was prettymuch necessary because of how integral the weather was for many in tournament strategies.
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For a limited time, you could get a special Rockruff via Mystery Gift. This Rockruff has the Own Tempo ability (blocks Confusion) and comes with Happy Hour, a move exclusive to Ultra Sun/Move that works the same as the Amulet Coin (increases payout from Trainer Battles). It can also only evolved into a special Dusk Lycanroc 5:00PM and 5:59PM. For the other two Lycanroc forms, you will need to import them from Sun or Moon. The promotion ended on January 10, 2018 so the only way to get this special Rockruff is to ask someone who got one to breed one for you.

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Overall, I give Pokemon Ultra Sun/Moon at 7/10.

Z-Moves being usable once per battle makes using them very situational just like Mega Evolution. Speaking of, I was angered and furious how 95% of the known Mega Stones were locked behind the postgame Battle Tree no one dones. I refuse to participate in such a luck-based mechanic where the competition can 2 or 3-hit KO whatever you send out. Not just in Ultra Sun/Moon but Sun/Moon, too. I just wished they didn’t prettymuch add Mega Evolution as an afterthought in the 7th Gen. It felt like “Oh wait we forgot about Mega Evolution, which such a big part of the 6th Gen games!” It’s a travesty and felt like they were basically saying they regretted introducing Mega Evolution. That’s just one point.

The increased difficulty of the games is why I took two points off. It’s very…hostile to those new the Pokemon games or anyone who hasn’t played past the 2nd Gen to now. Even to Vets, you’ll be impatiently waiting for the chance to use the Pokemon you imported from Poke Bank but can’t since it’ll be a while before you have access to a Pokemon Center for the first time.

It has been announced that Pokemon UltraSun and Pokemon UltraMoon will be the last main series Pokemon games getting released on the Nintendo 3DS. It’s still believed the remakes to Pokemon Diamond and Pearl will be released on the 3DS though. As for the 8th Gen, many think it will be released on the Nintendo Switch. I think it’s more likely they will be New Nintendo 3DS exclusive like Fire Emblem Warriors though. The 7th Gen games had increased functionality when used with a New Nintendo 3DS ala Super Smash Bros. 3DS.

Speaking of Fire Emblem Warriors…yep, that review is coming up next ^_^

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World Health Organization formally issues guidelines for Gaming Addiction

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…Let’s be transparent: There are those who proritize their gaming habits to unhealthy levels, no pun intended. We’ve always known this. The fact that the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially issued guidelines for Gaming Addiction speaks to how serious the problem has become worldwide in recent years. While the linked article admits it only effects a small number of people and is limited to only certain areas of the world, the data and headlines exist to back up the need for this.

Swatting, which is exclusively associated with online gaming is the act of someone calling law enforcement on someone not in their area. The caller gives dispatch a fictional story in which the victim is or is about to put the lives of others in the house in imminent danger to get police to go to their home in force, weapons drawn. Last month, a young man who was the victim was Swatting was killed by law enforcement. For those who are wondering there was no way for Law Enforcement to know in advance the man who they killed was a Swatting victim. That’s a chance they just can’t take regardless so…yeah. Not excusing what went down, mind you.

That aside, there are PLENTY of stories worldwide in which one’s gaming habits have lead to the death of the gamer. That’s what these new guidelines are about. Gaming addiction is NO JOKE. The gaming community prefers to ignore the obvious warning signs or brush off those who make the news as “extreme examples”. The Gaming Industry does advise taking breaks and limiting playing time per day but of course, most gamers prefer to ignore the warnings.

On that note, I want to remind folks of something I’ve said more than a few times: The Gaming Industry cares about profits first and everything else second. They’re not different from anyone else in that regard and it is EXTREMELY important that folks keep this in mind. We were lucky retired Senator Joseph Lieberman didn’t get his way 20 years ago when he called for strict regulations on video games. He has been an outspoken critic of video games, pointing to what we brushed off as “isolated incidents” as reasons for it. The media is not on our side either given with every story involving a video gamr, they always use stock footage of gamers playing violent video games. This is being done on purpose of course. Timing sucks given gaming is now mainstream but…yeah.

I know how I’m starting to sound to my fellow gamers so I’ll end with this: We can no longer be silent about this. We need to stand up and voice ourselves. Gaming Addiction IS real even if it only effects a small amount of people. Like other kinds of addiction, the first step is acknowledging there is a problem. When your gaming habits consistently or drastically impacts your quality of life, some changes need to be made. Yes, I know how I’m sounding.

I posted this on THIS blog to make a statement.

One other thing.

I was planning to make this a separate post but I have decided to step up and say this here instead. Over the last 3 months, I have sold 5 of my game systems: My Xbox 360, PS3, Wii and both of my PS Vitas. I sold all the games for all of those consoles as well. That leaves me with my PS4, Wii U and both of my New 3DS consoles. I sold a third of my physical 3DS games for the same reason as well. I do plan repurchase a PS3 and 2 Vitas once I am financially stable again though. Same with about half of the 3DS games I sold. Oh and yes, I kept both of the 64GB Vita Memory Cards I bought via Amazon.

My reasons for selling most of the video games I had were for money and a large change in priorities. This is also why I hadn’t posted any game reviews in several months. That and I have been focusing on actually getting through my (MASSIVE) backlog of video games. The last 2 games I bought…were Pokemon UltraSun and Fire Emblem Warriors, both in December. That will have to be it until I have income. That and the change in my priorities like I said before.

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Blizzard Unveils 7th Expansion Battle for Azeroth and WoW Classic at BlizzCon

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….Looking past how EPIC the Opening Cinematic is, this is clearly a “filler” expansion just like Warlords of Draenor and Cataclysm were for Mists of Pandaria and Legion respectively. We will see “Part 2” in the expansion after this one. They also made it a bit more obvious this time around: “Whoever wins will inherit a ruined world.”

Of course, it’s unlikely neither faction will be wiped out completely. More like one will control most of Azeroth politically and militarily. This also isn’t the first time there has been all out war between the Alliance and the Horde. That was basically Garrosh Hellscream’s tenure as Warchief of the Horde spanning Cataclysm and Mists. Despite sacking Orgrimmar, The Alliance spared the Horde’s leadership aside from Garrosh Hellscream. He was taken into custody by the Shado Pan and tried for War Crimes, effectively ending the conflict between both factions for the time being.

After heroes of Azeroth stopped the Iron Horde on Draenor and neutralized the Legion, war between both factions was reignited: The Horde burns Teldrassil to the ground and takes control of Kalimdor. In retaliation, The Alliance takes The Undercity and with it, total control of the Eastern Kingdoms. Unlike Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria in which the Faction Conflict drove the story, in BfA the Faction Conflict IS the story.

 

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Easily bigger than the new expansion announcement was Blizzard’s announcement of the release of WoW Classic aka Vanilla WoW. As of right now, we know nothing other than it’s coming. It has been the most requested thing by many vets of the game since The Burning Crusade went live: Dedicated servers locked to WoW’s pre-expansion state. I myself started playing WoW halfway through Burning Crusade but even then, folks liked to talk about “how much better” WoW Classic was than the current live version. As the game evolved, those voices grew and grew. Let’s not also forget there were the private illegal servers that ran WoW Classic, too so…yeah.

Me personally, this is a situation where the “Old School WoW Players” and those who started playing WoW from Burning Crusade onward both get what they want. All that is currently known about WoW Classic is it will happen, it will be “as close to Pre-expansion as possible” and it will have full Battle.net integration like StarCraft Remastered (HD Remake of the first StarCraft game and its expansion Brood Wars) does. Nothing more is known about it beyond that.

For those who never played the WoW during it’s early years, here’s what you should know:

  • 4 Alliance Races and 4 Horde Races: Human, Orc, Troll, Dwarf, Tauren, Night Elf, Undead and Gnome. Draenei and Blood Elves were added in Burning Crusade, Worgen and Goblins were added in Cataclysm and Pandaren added in Mists of Pandaria.
  • Paladin is Alliance Only (Human and Dwarf) and Shaman is Horde Only (Orc, Troll and Tauren): The Draenei introduced the Shaman class to the Alliance in Burning Crusade but in Cataclysm, Dwarves gain the Shaman class via the Wildhammer Clan and the Alliance-aligned Tushi Pandaren has the Shaman class as well. The Blood Elves introduced the Paladin class to the Horde in Burning Crusade but in Cataclysm, the Tauren gain the Paladin class via The Sunwalkers. The Horde gain two more races with the Shaman class via the Goblin and Huojun Pandaren.
  • Druid class is one race per faction: Night Elf for Alliance and Tauren for Horde. Cataclysm brought an additional race for the class to both factions via the Worgen and Trolls.
  • No Death Knight, Monk or Demon Huner Class: These were introduced later on via Wrath of the Lich King (Death Knight), Mists of Pandaria (Monk) and Legion (Demon Hunter).
  • No Dungeon/Raid Finder: If you want to do a dungeon or raid, you will have to physically travel to the instance. LFD was introduced in Wrath while LFR was introduced at the end of Cataclysm. Both are pointed as one of the two reasons (along with Paid Faction Change) as what killed Server Community.
  • No Paid Faction Change: This was introduced in Wrath and is pointed to as one of the two reasons (along with LFR/LFD) as what killed Server Community.
  • No Accountwide Achievements: This was introduced in Wrath. Popularized by Microsoft’s Xbox Consoles, WoW’s Version tracked every milestone you achieve. It was upgraded in Cataclysm to allow certain achievements to now be shared across all current and future characters on a single account.
  • No Heirlooms: Heirlooms were introduced in Wrath as a means of speeding through the leveling experience. At the time they were introduced they took a long time to get. When the Heirloom Tab was introduced in Mists, that created a unified system shared across all current and future characters.
  • Race Mounts locked to Race: Until halfway through Cataclysm, you couldn’t have Gnomes rocking Nightsabers or Tauren rocking Wolves as mounts. One can now use other mounts of their faction that were previously exclusive to just the race they played as.
  • Shared Starting Areas: Dwarves and Gnomes share the same Level 1-5 starting area while Orcs and Trolls share the same Level 1-5 starting area. Gnomes and Trolls got their own starting areas in Cataclysm via Gnomeregan and the Echo Isles.
  • Level 60 is the level cap: Goes without saying. The raids were Molten Core, Zul’Gurub, Blackwing Lair, Onyxia’s Lair, Ruins of AQ, AQ40 and the original Naxxramas. Naxx, Ruins of AQ, AQ40, MC and BWL all had an attunement requirements attached at the time as well.

 

…There’s more than that but that’s most of the big stuff.

And for those who are scratching their heads yes, there are literally thousands–probably no more than 30,000 worldwide–who want to play that version of WoW. It’s not known if it will be free, have a separate subscription or be included as part of an existing WoW Subscription. I’ll post more info as it comes.

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Comparing Pokemon Gold and Silver with their Nintendo DS remakes Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver

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…I plan on doing this with the original Red and Blue and their Game Boy Advance remakes FireRed and LeafGreen, likely in February or April. I already did it for Ruby and Sapphire and their remakes OmegaRuby and AlphaSapphire two years ago so…yeah.

Now that the original Gold and Silver have (Finally) been re-released (on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console), I have decided to do this little compare and contrast for folks regardless of which you prefer. Personally, I like both versions. LOL.

Let’s get started:

  • At the time of their original 2000 release, The Power of One–also known as Pokemon The Movie 2000 in the U.S.–fans were already familiar with Lugia, who was the main Legendary in the movie. As a result, Silver was more popular even though you could catch both Lugia and Ho-Oh in both games and in the same locations. The cover legendary could be caught at level 40 with their signature move while the other could be caught at level 70 without it. This is not possible in the Virtual Console versions–not yet anyway–but if you had Pokemon Crystal, you could pay the Move Relearner in Blackthorn City a visit to get Aeroblast or Sacred Fire on the level 70 versions of Lugia and Ho-Oh.
  • The remakes included the Pokefinder Prehep, which was essentially an enhanced replacement for the Mystery Gift feature in the originals. It also doubled as an additional way to both level pokemon you weren’t currently using and even randomly get new items or pokemon which could then be transferred back to the game.
  • Speaking of Mystery Gift. The feature works fully in the the Virtual Console versions: All the 2DS, 3DS and New 3DS Family consoles have an infrared bar so…yeah. As a reminder, you can only Mystery Gift the same person once a day.
  • In terms of difficulty, the originals were a little easier than Red/Blue/Yellow in some ways but harder in others. The Johto Starters don’t present a particular advantage against the Gyms out the gate due to a variety of factors. Chikorita is almost useless until you get to Kanto. Cyndaquil is good for Buggsy obviously but will be curb-stomped by Jasmine’s level 35 Steelix despite the type advantage (Her Steelix has Rock Slide for coverage). Totodile evolves fast (18 and 30) but offers no clear advantage against any of the Gyms or even the Elite Four. To offset this, the levels of the Gyms and the Elite Four are lower than their first-Gen counterparts.
  • In terms of difficulty, the remakes were definitely easier than Diamond/Pearl/Platinum in some ways but harder in others. The remakes included Pokemon Abilities and Natures introduced in the 3rd Gen as well as the reclassing of moves into Physical, Special/Energy and Other/Non-Damage in the 4th Gen. This added an extra layer of strategy to both be mindful of and exploit in the remakes.

 

I’ll pause the list for a bit and explain further:

Those who played Pokemon from the 3rd Gen on knows Gastly and its evolutions know the ability Levitate, which neutralizes their weakness to Ground-Type moves. Since Abilities don’t exist in the 2nd Gen, you could import a Level 30 Dugtrio (highest level you can use from trades with your badges at that point) with Earthquake and sweep Morty, the Ghost Gym Leader without taking any damage.

Let’s look at another Pokemon: Magnemite and its evolutions. Magnemite sometimes has an ability called Magnet Pull, which prevents Steel-type Pokemon from being switched out. This can make catching a wild Magnemite tricky if your lead Pokemon happens to be a Steel type but it can cause you problems since both of Jasmine’s Magnemites know Magnet Pull in the remakes.

I mentioned the reclassing of moves: Before the 4th Gen, Rock Slide was a Special Attack. Starting in the 4th Gen it’s considered a Physical move. To take it a step further, look at the Elemental Ice/Fire/Thunder Punch, which certain Pokemon naturally learn and are TMs in the originals: They are all physical movies starting in the 4th Gen since the user makes physical contact with their opponent. Why do you need to know this? Certain Pokemon Abilities are triggered by physical contact from the opponent. For example Static, which Pikachu and Mareep (and their evolutions) have: There is a 30% chance Paralysis will be inflicted on the opponent who makes physical contact with them.

Again, it’s an extra layer of strategy that needs to be taken into account in the remakes that you don’t in the originals.

  • In the originals, there are 26 variations of Unown (A to Z). In the remakes, two more were added in the 3rd Gen for the “!” and “?” characters for a new total of 28 variations of Unown.
  • In the originals, you could not trade with the 1st Gen games until the day after you meet Bill in Ecruteak City. In the remakes, you can trade with Diamond/Pearl/Platinum as soon as you name your rival.
  • The Safari Zone in Fuschia City from the 1st Gen is closed in the originals. In the remakes, it has been moved to a new area west of Cianwood City. In addition, the Pal Park–the mechanic used to migrate Pokemon from the 3rd gen games to the 4th–is where the Safari Zone was in Fuschia City in the remakes.
  • In the originals, hatching Pokemon took a while. In the remakes, you could speed up the process by putting a Pokemon with the Magma Armor ability in your party.

 

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Breaking news: Pokemon Crystal has been confirmed to be coming to the 3DS eShop’s Virtual Console on January 26, 2018. Pokemon Crystal was set apart from Gold and Silver for 3 reasons. One was it was Game Boy Color exclusive. The second is the Pokemon Sprites are animated, which was likely why it was GBC exclusive. Third, you had a guaranteed shot at the legendary Pokemon Suicune without having to find it first.

It has also be revealed that unlike the originaal U.S. release, you will be able to catch Celebi in the U.S. Virtual Console version of Pokemon Crystal. This wasn’t possible back in 2001 as the Japanese version had an exclusive prehep that allowed one to connect their cellphone to their Game Boy Color. The Japanese version of Pokemon Crystal contained additional features that made use of the mobile phone adapter including the ability to trade online in Japan. Said features were obviously excluded from the U.S. version since Nintendo scrapped bringing the mobile adapter to the U.S. at the last minute. If you used a Game Shark on Crystal you already know the coding for Celebi was obviously still in the game.

If I had to guess, Nintendo will modify the coding to make Celebi an in-game event Pokemon once certain conditions have been satisfied. One of the conditions in the Japanese version was to collect all 16 badges. The other three involved the features excluded from the U.S. version. My guess is beating Red or completing the Pokedex will be added in the U.S. version as requirements to catch Celebi. The Time Travel Pokemon will be level 30 so prepare accordingly!

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Speaking of Pokemon Crystal. Those who played it as well as HeartGold and SoulSilver will have noticed the Eusine storyline involving Suicune was brought back. What this means is in Crystal as well as in HS/SS is you have a guaranteed shot at catching Suicune. You will still need to do the legwork for Entei and Raikou though.

 

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Posted in Blog, Brendan Aurabolt, Game Boy Advance, New Nintendo 3DS, News, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, Pokemon, Retro Gaming, Serene Adventure, Video Games | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pokemon Transporter App Updated for Pokemon Gold and Silver

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I can confirm as of September 17, the Nintendo 3DS App PokeTransporter has an update available to allow Pokemon to be transferred from the 2nd Gen to 7th Gen. There are no update notes but given the update is 421 blocks, it’s obvious that’s what the update is for.

…For those who may be wondering, Nintendo has confirmed you will be able to use the Time Capsule in Gold and Silver to transfer Pokemon to or from Red, Blue and Yellow which were released earlier this year. Just be mindful you can’t transfer anything from the 2nd gen that didn’t exist in the first. So no 2nd Gen Pokemon, moves on 1st gen Pokemon they don’t learn in the 1st gen and no Eggs. They can’t even be in the party just so you know.

 

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Those who buy Gold and/or SIlver will receive a code to get a Celebi in the 7th Gen games. The redemption code is on the digital receipt, which can be viewed bt foing to the eShop and pulling up your transaction history. Write the code down or take a picture since you will need to go into the Mystery Gift option in the 7th Gen games–Sun, Moon, UltraSun and UltraMoon–to redeem the code and get Celebi. Celebi is the 2nd Gen’s Mew in that it’s an Event Pokemon otherwise unobtainable in-game. Celebi was officially released in the U.S. when the Poke Bank App launched after being delayed to fully test it.

 

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Originally announced as being Japan-Only, you can get these Gold and Silver 3DS Themes when you buy the games. The code is on the receipt below the Celebi one. Speaking of, the codes for both the themes and Celebi are only good for 1 year. That’s all the more reason to redeem them ASAP.

 

…I actually preordered both games. I expect alot of folks to try to download the game on Day One so…yeah. How digital pre-orders work is the full game is downloaded but is locked until its official release date. A small update unlocks the game if it’s not set to automatically unlock on its own on the official release day. For those who either need a refresher or never played the original Gold and Silver, check out this page I made on the 2nd Gen games!

 

 

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Posted in Blog, Brendan Aurabolt, News, Nintendo 3DS, Preview, Retro Gaming, RPG, Serene Adventure, Video Games | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

That time Nintendo made two different NES Super Mario Bros. 2 Games

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…This happens far less today than it did 30 years ago but often, a game maker would make two or more prototypes of an upcoming game and then pick the one they like the most to focus on. Depending on the promise, sometimes the prototypes they passed on will see a release at a later time. This was the one time Nintendo literally made two different sequels to Super Mario Bros. and BOTH were mega successful.

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Those of you in North America who played the NES have likely played this version of Super Mario. Bros. 2. In exchange for being a single-player game you could play as Mario, Luigi, Peach or Toad and each of them played differently: Mario was balanced, Luigi could Super Jump (which would return in later games), Peach could glide (reused in later games) and Toad could chuck objects faster than the others. Unlike the prequel and the Sequel (Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3), Bowser was not the final boss: It was a giant frog named Wart.

Not only that, the game had a distinct Arabian motiff: Flying Carpets, Lamps and so on. Compared to the game that came before it and the game that would come after it, Super Mario Bros. 2 felt like another game.

Well, it was originally:

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The game was Doki Doki Panic, a Famicom (Japan’s NES) platformer. The story goes, then Nintendo of America president Howard Lincoln sampled the Super Mario Bros. 2  that had been released in Japan. That version of Super Mario Bros. 2 was basically the first game with increased difficulty and new mechanics in the form of wind and the Poison Mushroom. Lincoln felt it would be too hard and frustrating for American gamers so Nintendo of America looked at the Famicom library for an existing game to reskin as Super Mario Bros. 2.

The game they settled on: Doki Doki Panic, which had never been released outside Japan.

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…The similarities are impossible to ignore. LOL.

They basically took the game and Mario-ized it for its North American release. Take a look at the picures: In Doki Doki Panic, you were trying to rescue someone. In Super Mario Bros. 2 the 5th person is removed but the pose remains! Gamers in the U.S. would have no idea the Super Mario Bros. 2. they came to know and love was actually a reskinned port of a game that had already been released in Japan until a Nintendo Power publication dropped the news 8 years later. It’s worth noting Shy Guy and Birdie are both credited as having come from Doki Doki Panic in later game appearances.

What did Japanese Gamers think of the U.S. getting a different version of Super Mario Bros. 2.? They wanted in on that action:

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…So they got it in 1992–two years after Super Mario Bros. 3 had been released: Nintendo took the North American version of Super Mario 2 and localized it for Japan’s NES the Famicom as Super Mario USA. It’s funny when you think about it given at that time, the Super Famicom and SNES had just been released in Japan and the U.S. It’s also funny given the game Nintendo of America used as a blueprint–Doki Doki Panic–had already been released in Japan several years earlier!

I believe this was the first and only time we have seen anything like this in gaming history. Here’s a chart to help clarify the timeline:

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…The obvious remaining question to ask is would North American gamers ever get to play the Japanese release of Super Mario Bros. 2? After all, Japan got the U.S. Version. The answer to anyone who played Super Mario All Stars for the SNES is yes:

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I played the game, known in the U.S. as Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels (aptly named, mind you) in 1994. This was during the holidays and the same year I had open heart surgery. I remember it well. I referenced this before in past blog posts but THIS–Super Mario All Stars–was the very first game I ever pulled an all-nighter to play. I was 10 years old. Ironically, I played Super Mario Bros. 2 first. This was the first and only time I actually beat Super Mario Bros. 2 believe it or not: I have not to this day ever beaten the NES version of Super Mario Bros. 2 (U.S.) despite owning every single port of the game (Game Boy Advance and Virtual Console).

Anyway when I got to the Lost Levels, it felt like the first Super Mario Bros. but I could tell it was a completely different game. The wind and poison mushrooms–the latter easier to tell apart from Super Mushrooms than the Famicom version–were the giveaways. They certainly didn’t exist in the first game! Anyways, I beat it in the same night. Then I went and cruised through the other two games. By the time I finished, my older brother and cousin were just waking up the next morning. I felt like a BOSS.

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…Watching the above video brought back some painful memories. I can’t fault Nintendo of America for not wanting to release it in 1986!

Aside from the graphical upgrade, nothing was changed in terms of gameplay. If you feel like from just watching the video the game was designed to make it as hard as possible to beat, that’s exactly what it felt like playing it: in World 3-1, there is a warp pipe that sends you back to World 1-1 and in World 8-1, there is a warp pipe that sends you back to 5-1! Even today it is an extremely tricky game to clear. Just look at the last two minutes!

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…Super Mario All Stars would be re-released 20 years later on the Wii, allowing a whole new generation of gamers to play both the U.S. and Japanese versions of Super Mario Bros. 2 along with 1 and 3. It’s worth trying at the very least but fair warning, the ragequit factor is VERY high! In fact, most who beat the game would seldom be willing to do it again. It’s THAT difficult. If you think today’s games are “too easy”, this game might be right up your alley!

 

Posted in Blog, Brendan Aurabolt, NES, Nintendo Wii, Retro Gaming, Serene Adventure, SNES, Video Games | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for the Nintendo Switch is coming!

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…After being “accidently” leaked by Bethesda when the Switch was 0fficially unveiled last year, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has been confirmed to be making its way to the Nintendo Switch. You read that right: The 2011 Game of the year which won almost 100 Awards is coming to a Nintendo console! As you can see from the box art, all 3 expansions are included.

Skyrim was originally released on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC but was later released on the PS4 and Xbox One when they were released. It is still mega popular 6 years after its initial release. It’s an RPG for those who would not play a traditional RPG series like Final Fantasy to put it simply. The game has 3 Expansions: Dawnguard (new areas and quests), Hearthfire (able to buy and furnish houses) and Dragonborn (New abilities and quests), all of which were also released for the console versions. Later releases automatically include the three expansions with the game (no downloading required).

…I myself have the PC, PS3 and PS4 Legendary Edition versions of Skyrim, which includes all 3 expansions. I haven’t finished the main story yet–yes, there is one–in any version. Mostly because I got a whole bunch of games since I bought Skyrim for the PS3 three years ago. I just remembered I should probably finish the PS3 and PS4 versions at least (LOL!). I got the PC version from Steam on sale to try a mod two years back but it’s not currently installed on my computers.

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…This is one of the reasons to get the Nintendo Switch version if you have the console: It will have Amiibo Support. You can scan Amiibos to get additional gear. As of right now, we know you can scan Legend of Zelda Amiibos to get Link’s Tunic, The Master Sword and the Hylian Shield. It’s not a stretch to believe Fire Emblem Amiibos will be compatible or it will be added =O

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As you can clearly see from these pictures, the Nintendo Switch Version will be a significant graphical downgrade from even the PC version on the lowest settings. I do suspect this is how Skyrim would look on the Vita as well actually. It’s a question of weather you’d be willing to deal with the obvious graphical downgrade in exchange for slightly improved gameplay and portability.

…I already have two HD versions of the game (PS3 and PS4). My answer is obvious: I’ll pass. If you never played Skyrim but have a Switch though, go for it. If you never played Skyrim but have one of the other platforms, it’s a must-have.

Posted in Blog, Brendan Aurabolt, News, Nintendo Switch, PC, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Preview, RPG, Serene Adventure, Skyrim, Video Games, Xbox 360, Xbox One | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment