Game Boy Mini?

News has recently come out that Nintendo has registered a trademark on the Game Boy. First off, Nintendo didn’t have a trademark on the Game Boy? But more importantly, this seems to indicate that Nintendo is likely going to release a Game Boy classic after the success of NES Classic and SNES classic.

Honestly, this is one that I could do without. The reality is that many NES games are difficult to play with modern technology being what it is. Game Boy with it’s 4-bit grey and black graphics and minimal gameplay… it’s honestly not that good. There are very few games that I would consider classic. In fact, the Game Boy is a system that I decided not to collect early on… partially because it is hard to store & display the games, and also because the games just aren’t that good.

But it seems Nintendo is eyeing Game Boy over going the N64 route for its next mini series (probably partially due to the difficulty of emulating the N64). So I feel the need to put out what I think should, or will be on the Game Boy Classic. I am going to make the assumption that the Game Boy Classic will actually be a Game Boy Color Classic. And keep in mind, this is likely going to be every game worth playing on the game boy plus a few that aren’t.

  1. Color – Ok, not a game, but the games chosen for the Game Boy Classic would be best if Nintendo offered a color mode. Whether it was an actual color remake of the graphics, or just a lame color lense that the Game Boy Color had (Now it’s light blue and dark blue instead of grey and black!).
  2. Pokemon Crystal – The Game Boy Classic is going to have a Pokemon game, how can it not? It’ll be interesting if they just give the straight game or if they have some way to do pokemon trading. Regardless it will have one… Whether they go with Classic First gen or do second gen is the key. They could be super annoying and have a Blue Game Boy and Red Game Boy, but I think they would sidetrack that issue by going with Crystal which is considered one of the best Pokemons of all time. It’s also not an easy version to get your hands on.
  3. Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX – Another no brainer. This game was a sister game to Link to the Past, and is pretty good. Doing the DX version means that owners would get a full colorized version with a bonus dungeon.
  4. Tetris – I’m not sure how the rights to this game work. But what is the Game Boy without Tetris?
  5. Kirby’s Dream Land – So far every Classic has come with a Kirby and this was the best one on Game Boy.
  6. Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins – 2 was better than 1. Neither is as classic as console Marios.
  7. Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 – Better than 2 and actually a decent game in its own right. It’s unfortunate Wario hasn’t really had a decent release since.
  8. Metroid II: Samus Returns – I don’t think this game was great in the first place and I don’t think it held up either. But, Metroid has name recognition and Nintendo recently did a remake so this makes sense.
  9. Final Fantasy Adventure – This was actually the first Secret of Mana title, but Square didn’t think Americans would understand having a game with a different name? No idea, still it was pretty good.
  10. Final Fantasy Legend II – Second was better than the first, these were true Final Fantasy games.
  11. Donkey Kong Land – Making a clone of a console game and throwing Land at the end of it was pretty common… Again.. name recognition…
  12. Pokemon Pinball – OK… I doubt the GB Classic would come with rumble, and honestly that was kind of the truly revolutionary thing about Pokemon Pinball… that being said, it was a solid little pinball game.
  13. Dr. Mario – Puzzle games do a better job with the test of time because they don’t need great graphics and simple is sometimes better.
  14. Mega Man V – Generally thought of as the best Game Boy Mega Man… I could see them throwing a dart at a board and just picking whatever one it lands on.
  15. Shantae – So Shantae has had a rebirth thanks to a pretty good kickstarter. How epic would it be if Nintendo decided to approach WayForward to get it on the GB Classic?
  16. Gargoyle’s Quest – GQ 2 on NES and Demon’s Crest on SNES are generally well thought of, but this was a solid game in its own right. Neither of the other two were good enough to make it onto the other systems, but there’s not a ton to choose from on the GB and this game turns out to be one of the better on this system.
  17. R-Type DX – Shmups are great, R-Type was an amazing series and this one was in color. This may have issues due to the fact that the company who made it is no more (I don’t even know who owns R-Type anymore), but it would offer a nice bit of variety to the system.
  18. Mario Tennis – Good lord  this series has been around long enough to be on the Game Boy? Why yes it has! Again, the system  needs some variety and even though you don’t generally want to load too many of the same faces, Mario Tennis is fun.
  19. Kid Dracula – The other systems had Castlevania, this system should have the game that made fun of Castlevania.
  20. Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters – Why? Because why not? Kid Icarus is one of those series that people love to want but it turns out the games aren’t great. Still… this would maybe appease some people whining for the series, may raise awareness of the series, and at the very least is a series Nintendo owns that isn’t in the Mario or Pokemon universe.
  21. F-1 Race – Ok we have hit the bottom of the barrel, but when I was looking around for inspiration on this list I noticed that this game was actually the 16th best selling game on the system. I don’t remember it at all, but it sold about 3.5 million units and was published by Nintendo. Even though it sold a lot, I think this would be a great obscure game to add that gives the system variety.

SNES Mini Wishlist

I’m sad that I was never able to get my hands on a NES mini. Even though Nintendo has said the last shipments of the year will be sent throughout April, I am kind of hopeful that the verbiage “of the year” means we will see its triumphant return at some point. I really want to get every version of the mini and will likely buy myself a Famicom Mini imported from Japan as prices for that console are fairly reasonable. HOPEFULLY, the SNES mini doesn’t have the same production issues the NES mini did. I imagine demand will be even higher this time around as the SNES is thought of better than the NES and I can imagine more people wanting to get on board with the games. So really my #1 wish for the SNES Mini is that they actually make enough that I can own one! But outside of that, everyone and their mothers are making wishlists of what games they want to see on the novelty console so I figured I’d make my wish list. Note though, there are a ton of games I want to see on this console. My choice is basically copying the concept of the NES mini of getting a number of games from different genres and companies.

  1. Super Mario World – I think this is the one gimme that we can expect on the system. The game plays just as good today.
  2. Earthbound – I kind of expect this one on the system as well. The mini will need a couple token RPGs, especially since SNES had so many really good ones. Nintendo of late has been doing its best to promote the Earthbound series and this would be another easy way to get it out there.
  3. F-Zero – A racer, and a great one at that. How could we not see this on the system?
  4. Super Street Fighter II: Random edition – Nintendo gets Final Edition on Switch as an exclusive (for now), is it possible we see one of the SNES editions make it here as well? I have a feeling it was in on the contract.
  5. Final Fantasy IV – VI is the better game, but could easily be held back for a second SNES mini. NES mini has the original Final Fantasy, proving that Square Enix is willing to deal with these.
  6. Super Metroid – Often considered the best Metroid that was made. This would be a beneficial addition for the actiony-type games.
  7. Mega Man X2 – X1 I think is the better game, like FF4 over 6, save it for a future edition, X2 provides a good variety and is still a good game.
  8. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest – See above.
  9. Earthworm Jim – I’m not even entirely sure who owns Earthworm Jim these days. There hasn’t been a new one in ages has there? It was a great game and also a little niche. I think it’d be a great add.
  10. Super Castlevania IV – Konami played nice and put Castlevania on the NES, here’s another classic.
  11. Kirby’s Dream Land 3 – I never got into the Kirby games, but how can you not include Kirby?
  12. Ken Griffey’s Jr’s Winning Run Baseball – Sports game that was actually created by Nintendo. Easy add.
  13. Super Punch-Out – Probably the least popular of the Punch Out games, but again, adds variety and owned by Nintendo.
  14. SimCity – This is one of my all time favorite renditions of any SimCity. Super fun version. I’m not sure how EA feels about putting their games out there and generally this one can only be gotten via cart, but still would be awesome to see its return.
  15. Pilotwings – Man the SNES had a good launch… Pilotwings, SimCity, F-Zero, and Mario World. Pretty sure that was it at launch but I’d take any one of em.
  16. NBA Jam Tournament Edition – Switch is getting a Jam-like game, why not promote it by putting Jam on the mini?
  17. Actraiser – Another game I love that doesn’t get a lot of praise but is great. Part Platformer, Part God-Simulation Part awesome.
  18. Star Fox – Honestly, I was originally going to leave it off the list of games because I feel like the list was already Nintendo heavy and needed to save a few gems for SNES Mini 2 (Which I imagine they have to leave as a possibility), but it is a shooter game and this list is pretty slim on those. It also is the game that showcases the FX chip the best.
  19. Breath of Fire – I wanted one more RPG on the system after FFIV & Earthbound and I wanted it to not be going through Square which is really difficult since Square and Enix were the two big RPG creators of the day and now they are the same company. Breath of Fire is a good game that doesn’t get a ton of press which makes it a great niche game to add to this list.
  20. The Legend of the Mystical Ninja – LOVE this game. Another niche action-adventure game.
  21. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past – Thought I’d forget? Naw this game has to be there.
  22. Zombies Ate My Neighbors – I think the Genesis version might actually be the better version, but this is still a cult classic.
  23. Super Adventure Island – Another Hudson Soft Game, I was thinking either this or Bomberman, but I decided that if they were going to include games that allow for 3+ players it’d be on the next SNES Mini, not this version.
  24. Super Star Wars – This is kind of a pipe dream. I don’t think it would happen, but the Star Wars trilogy on the SNES were pretty good games.
  25. Super Mario Kart – Nintendo brings back the version that started it all. I would rank the original as the 4th best SMK, but die hards love this one.
  26. Lemmings – Another pipe dream. This was made by DMA designs which is now Rockstar North and Rockstar hasn’t traditionally played nice with Nintendo so don’t expect it to happen. But IMHO, Lemmings may have been the best puzzle game on the system.
  27. The Lost Vikings – Simliarly, another classic that likely won’t make it. I mean this has a better shot than Lemmings.
  28. Wario’s Woods – I”ll be honest, not played it, and I don’t think the game is generally thought of well. But it is a puzzle game all the same.
  29. Some random Madden – They are pretty much all the same, but this is the generation that started the franchise so I feel like it should be included.
  30. Aerobiz Supersonic – Another pipedream, but this game is a personal favorite of mine. It’s an Airliner business simulator back in the SNES days and is honestly one of my fav from the system. Very niche game and doubt it’d show up but this was my personal wish it was there item.

My Consternation With Amiibo

It all starts with the e-Reader. I bought the e-Reader because honestly I thought it was a great idea. At the time collectible cards was still near its height and here’s a way to add stuff to games easily. In particular,  it seemed built for games like Pokemon and Animal Crossing which had lots that they could add to with custom pokemon or clothing that you might be able to download given the right card. It failed miserably. I got a few packs, but overall it seemed fairly difficult to buy any of the packs of e-reader cards, and I had no interest in the Pokemon TCG so I never really bothered with that set.

Then there is the Mii. I love Miis, they are extremely popular to this day. However, they also never were used quite as much as they were promised initially. Their limitations being used in Nintendo’s casual games like Sports, Wii Fit, or Nintendoland. When Nintendo put them in Mario Kart 8, I thought it was both surprising and strange considering it is way more fun to play a classic mario character than your mii anyway, but it is still a nice touch. Nintendo rarely opened up the Miis for use with third-parties which is really a shame because I remember reading articles with various third-parties expressing interest. Honestly, I feel that they should have opened up the API to allow anyone to play with them but Nintendo considers Mii an IP and as such they want to protect it, but in so doing they are limiting the promise of what Miis could have been. On top of that, with a new console they totally could have added in new outfits and features for the Mii to advance them even more, maybe even a slight update on graphics… but no. Miis got ignored, even gimped considering there isn’t an online stage that you can go and view and download other people’s creations anymore.

And this is my concern with Amiibo. In theory, I like it way better than I like Skylanders and Disney Infinity that came before. I mean here, instead of being stuck into a weird game, they almost act as universal DLC unlockers. Meaning, you unlock DLC in multiple games just for owning a cute little statue. When I think that I could unlock a character in Smash Bros that learns to play based on how you play with it, or a new suit in Mario Kart, or an item in Hyrule Warriors… I think this is a great concept.

I think about how these could be used in the future. I mean, like the e-reader before it, Amiibo seems to be tailor made for Animal Crossing which I have no doubt will launch on the Wii U in a couple of years. I also feel like it would work well with Mario Party which is out next year I believe… Maybe add new characters in the game that normally aren’t there? Maybe a helping system. Maybe a learning playstyle similar to Smash Bros. And what if Nintendo eventually put out a central Amiibo game. Maybe Amiibo World or something, similar to Skylanders and Infinity where owning the figures makes a difference on the characters. Coupled with the upcoming New 3DS that has support for Amiibo scanning, and we could also see support for games on that system so that opens it up even more. Nice touch Nintendo.

But then I think of, compatability with games. This concept works way better the more games that the Amiibos work for, and considering we are already at nearly 50 announced figures in the next 6 months, you can’t expect every Amiibo to have something in every game. But this lends to the problem of how many games can you expect each amiibo to have features for? Already there have been many reports that Marth, Villager, and Wii Fit Trainer are discontinued. And because of that, the value of those Amiibo has sky-rocketed. What then, presents Nintendo with the responsibility in the future to have a game that gives owners of Marth a little love? Will Marth only have compatibility for Super Smash Bros. and that is the whole reason why they discontinued it? Villager was a strange one to me to discontinue just because of how perfect Animal Crossing is for this… why didn’t they keep him out until that game came out? Will Village have support in Animal Crossing? It would make sense. Will we only see support in games where the characters are actually present like we see in Smash Brothers and Hyrule Warriors? Or will we see more little trinkets like Mario Kart 8? Wasn’t it a bit of a waste that they decided that all those fun outfits in Bayonetta of Nintendo IPs were included with the game for free instead of as Amiibo add-ons? I mean I’m not complaining but would have been some nice support there.

Then there is third-party support. Nintendo themselves has mentioned that they have already been talks with some third-parties and I have seen reports elsewhere (not sure where) from the third-parties that they are interested. But then, this is the same sort of talk we heard with Miis and we all see where that led us. And if, eventually, third-party games did support Amiibos, how would compensation work? I would guess Nintendo makes about $5 per figure from sales.1 How much would Nintendo give to Sega for including support for Mario Amiibo? $.50 per figure sold? $1.00? Or would they base it on usage of the Amiibo within the game similar to how Spotify pays musicians? For instance, that $5 per figure is put into a giant pot and if players use the amiibo in your game 20% of the time and other games 80% of the time, you get the $1 per figure. And will Nintendo be willing to pay others for using Nintendo’s IP? The fact that we will be seeing Mega Man and Sonic amiibos in February alone I find astonishing and I look forward to seeing that. I wonder how much of a share Sega & Capcom get for those. And I wonder how many more third-party amiibos we might see in the future?

There are a ton of questions right now with Amiibo even close to a month after their release and still not much solid. I like them, but I worry about them. I don’t know if they will get the support we all kind of hope for or if after this initial push it just kind of dwindles away. I don’t know if the current level of support will be the final level support that we can expect going forward. (Each Amiibo may have support for two or three games and that is it.) Right now Nintendo is really selling a hope and a dream. And unfortunately they have not had a great track record with this type of experiment. This one seems to have the most promise. It gives you something far more concrete in the terms of ideas than the e-Reader, and also provides an income the way that the Miis could not. But will the sometimes fickle Nintendo follow through? That remains to be seen. At the very least we will have some cute little figurines to enjoy even if the games don’t really turn out.

Why Nintendo Should Leave Optical Media Behind

I recently was watching a Youtube video of people playing Little Big Planet 3 on the PS4. First of all the game, looks awesome and is one of the bigger reasons to get a PS4 in my eyes.1 But the thing that astonished me most was the loading screens of the game… it would take a good minute or two to load the game up, reminding me of PSX load times that always made me glad that I had an N64 instead of a Playstation. Load times, unfortunately, are the negative that come with optical media, however in recent times that has been negated a bit by having faster optical drives in the system.2

Enter the new competitor which Nintendo has embraced on its portable systems for years now… the SD card. SD cards do not suffer from the speed problems of optical media, they also are a more durable media format, and can write onto the disk. In fact, SD cards very much remind me of the old media that Nintendo prized for so long… the cartridge.

The main problems from the cartridge was the size constraint vs. cost. But let’s look at the size first of all… PS4’s Blu-ray drive can hold 50GB of space. Honestly, compared to the jump in size that the CD gave, this isn’t a whole lot of space anymore. A quick look at amazon.com and I can find 64GB SD card today for about $30. Which isn’t a bad price for retail, though yes is a lot more expensive than what you can get for Blu-ray which runs about $25 for 10 50GB discs. That is .05 per GB of Blu-Ray to .45 per GB of SD. Of course, the hidden truth about these sizes is that games today are rarely over 25GB. For 25GB discs, the price increases to about .06 per GB and for 32GB SD cards, the price decreases to about .12 per GB.

This brings me to scaling. There are essentially two options with Blu-Ray… there is 25 and 50 GB. With SD, there is a lot bigger of a range. Are you making a smaller game? Use a 4GB card, making a bigger game? Use a 64GB card. Not only that, prices change as times progress. 64GB is kind of pricey today, but a year from now they may be fairly affordable. Price of a Blu-Ray disc aren’t likely to deviate much, yeah even at the cheap range, the Blu-ray may still hold an advantage in per GB price, but you are also paying for GB you don’t need and thus you might actually be able to pay less for a 4GB SD card than a 25GB disc even if you are paying more per GB what does it matter if you are only using 2? SD also scales better towards the future in size. PS4 will always only handle 50GB, but the 3DS for example is capable of holding a 128GB SD card and that system is 3 years old. No game requires that amount of space yet, but the ability is there if needed down the line. With Nintendo next console… I would not be surprised if 256 or 512GB might be easily tops.

The rumor for Nintendo’s next console is that they will be merging their portable system with their handheld system. Largely this is the rumor due to the working name of Fusion. The assumption I guess would be a system that might be similar to what we have with the Wii U, except the tablet has processing power similar to an advanced version of the 3DS within its shell that would allow you to take the system with you and play on the go. I think this would be a welcome addition and also feel like a natural evolution. I, along with many others I’m sure, would love to be able to just walk away from my TV and bring my gamepad to work or on vacation, even if the graphics aren’t quite as good as if they were on the TV and even if the games that supported such functionality were somewhat limited. After all, maybe Wii Sports just wouldn’t make sense without the Wii Remotes. The intriguing part of this to me is how to deal with the game media. And this is where SD card could become the next form factor for Nintendo.

Nintendo already has many  years of experience with working with the SD form factor.  SD holds with it many advantages that were lost with the optical media that I am sure Nintendo has long missed (Writability, expanadibility, speed, durability). And perhaps in 3 or 4 years, the size vs. cost has finally advanced to the stage that optical’s only real advantage is no where nearly as large. After all, say what you will about the cheapness of optical media… an expensive game on the 3DS is $40 where a normal priced game on the PS4 and the Xboned is $60. Surely, the price differential isn’t as big as people might assume.3

The reality is that despite the fact that Microsoft got slaughtered for trying to go with no media with the Xboned, with Valve possibly officially launching Steam machines in the next couple of years, I feel like the next gen of consoles won’t have media anyway. I mean think about it… 1TB hard drives are fairly cheap, media is expensive, most countries have good internet even if ours doesn’t, and you generally can redownload games as much as possible. One of the largest complaints I’ve heard of going no media is that not everyone has an internet connection… that argument doesn’t make sense to me after living through the Gamecube era where Nintendo got killed for not having internet support and that was 14 years ago. I agree with the sentiment, but feel that it is really an argument being used by people who don’t have the problem and I would rather them put out real arguments. Personally I like physical media cause I can resell it (valid, though game makers don’t want you to) and I am a collector and don’t like the idea that 10 years from now my game won’t be usable and honestly digital doesn’t really make for good collecting anyway. Really game makers don’t think either argument is valid outside of the fact that they are valid feelings we the consumer has. The other argument that people latch onto even though it doesn’t affect them, that not everyone has internet… it’s only valid to a certain point. In Japan and Korea, it is not. Do remember that Sony & Nintendo care about Japan first.  And while Americans like to think we are more important than everyone else, we are not. We certainly matter in the video game market, but we aren’t the majority. What’s more those without internet are not the majority of the video game market. Actually far from. The number of people who can afford a $600 (Console + 1 or 2 games + a controller) investment and DO NOT HAVE INTERNET is a VERY small percentage. Those people who don’t have internet are often the ones who this year decided to buy an Xbox 360 or a Playstation 3 for Christmas… a full year after the next gen has been out just to save money, so you are literally talking about people who are a full generation behind which means these people won’t be affected by a no media decision until 2022 at the earliest (Assuming Nintendo launches their next console in 2017 on a 5 year cycle which is the absolute earliest that they will, and then another 5 years until the next gen after that launches.) By that point, if people are really without internet… it isn’t Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft you should be angry at… it is the United States Government because that would be ridiculous…

10 Pokemon That Need New Evolutions

Pokemon X has a very strong Red/Blue vibe to it that makes me think back about Pokemon of yore. I really feel that there are a number of Pokemon who have long needed new members to their evolutionary chains. This seems particularly true now that Game Freak has added Mega Evolutions, which are essentially a forth line of evolution, albeit temporary. I think one of the things that many people liked about Gold & Silver was how it brought new evolutionary chains to the old Pokemon, this is something that hasn’t been done as much since. With that,  I thought I’d come up with 10 pokemon that are in pretty big need of new evolutions, most of which are older, but there might be a couple newer ones as well. Continue reading “10 Pokemon That Need New Evolutions”

Favorite Zelda Games

With Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD for the Wii U now out in stores. I feel the need to reflect on the zelda games that I prefer. This list is in order from least favorite to favorite, and is also only including console Zeldas, not portables, and does not contain versions I have not played.

Legend of Zelda – Original
Ok, so I really enjoy this version of Zelda, but I will be honest in saying that this enjoyment mostly comes from nostalgia. I remember as a kid going to a friends house and seeing it for the first time and thinking it was amazing that my friend owned this game and wishing I could somehow get it (which never happened). However, the game itself is not easy to figure out what you are going to do. I like the exploration within the game but the level of which it just throws you into the game with little to no direction is difficult to muster. Other games that left it open in the series like this one weren’t so harsh in this manner.

Ocarina of Time
I would guess this would surprise anyone reading this blog. Most people find Ocarina the best of the series and one of the best games of all time. Don’t get me wrong, this game at the time was extremely good, without a doubt. However, I feel anyone who plays it now and actually still thinks it is the best in the series is letting the nostalgia get to them. The reason this game was so good was because it really was the first of its kind. It did things no other game had done, and reinvented Zelda in a way that is still overpowering the series (much to reviewers dismay). However, I personally don’t feel the game has aged overly well. This might be because every game that has occurred since Ocarina in the series has copied it so heavily. The sad fact is, of all the Ocarina-like Zelda, Ocarina of Time is the worst. Nintendo refined the series so much after this point that it put this game to shame. Continue reading “Favorite Zelda Games”