What is Your Game of The Half-Year for 2014?

mario kart 8

2014 is half-over, which means that the time is nigh to reflect on the last six months of new games. We saw some current-gen only titles drop along with a 3DS title that sought to reclaim the JRPG crown, a couple of big MMORPG releases and a game that actually made people want to buy a Wii U.

As you can probably suss out from the preceding sentence, my favorite game so far this year is Mario Kart 8. I wrote a bit about the sheer joy that playing the newest Mario Kart can bring you and I’ve yet to even dip my toes into the online mode. It even has a rather forward thinking feature for a Nintendo product in Mario Kart TV, which allows players to slice up clips of their races and upload it to YouTube, which brought us the famous Luigi Death Stare. Some might not like the serious downgrade that the Battle Mode received, but the N64 implementation of that was always the best for me and I haven’t played that mode sense.

We still have six game-packed months to go and my front-runner for Game of the Year will most likely change when 2014 is done and dusted. Even so, I’d like to know what your game of the half-year is. What games do you think will knock it off in the latter half of 2014?

The Dork Knight Rises in Watch Dogs

Aiden Pearce Dork

Aiden Pearce is a dork. He’s also “The Vigilante”, the hacker who takes matters into his own hands on the streets of Chicago in Watch Dogs, the new hit from Ubisoft. Watch Dogs is a fun, enjoyable take on the open-world genre, even if it lacks in genuine originality or innovation. But the more I’ve played, the more I’ve enjoyed my time in our newest digital sandbox.

Except where Aiden is concerned. The gameplay of Watch Dogs is pretty damn good, but the story and Aiden’s character are pretty horrendous. Slight spoilers for Watch Dogs ahead: Continue reading The Dork Knight Rises in Watch Dogs

The Sheer Joy of Mario Kart 8

mario kart 8 impressions

Over the weekend I played a healthy amount of Mario Kart 8 and I can firmly say that this is the most fun I’ve had with the series in a long time. This game feels like a perfect evolution for the series with new features that make sense and a lot of returning mechanics from the previous games that are implemented in clever ways. The new hover segments, where the tires on your vehicle turn sideways and you float a foot or so off the ground, manages to feel like an integral part of how you play in Mario Kart 8 and not just a new gimmick to put on the back of the box. Hovering turns the gameplay on its head, sometimes literally, and forces you to think differently, like purposely bumping into other races to get a speed boost instead of avoiding them.

It helps that Mario Kart 8 is an amazing looking game and even in local two-player splitscreen it still delivers a 60 frame per second performance. Across the eight different cups are 32 tracks, 16 new and 16 returning and all have been tweaked to take full advantage of the different modes of transportation. In one race alone you might be underwater, gliding through the air and hovering upside down. Mario Kart 8 keeps you constantly engaged by changing up the progression of the race so you never feel like you’re just going through the motions. The soundtrack is nearly fully orchestrated this time and is a huge improvement over the music of Mario Kart Wii. Continue reading The Sheer Joy of Mario Kart 8

The Eternal War: A Look at the Repeating Console Cycle

Sega Logo

I’ve been reading Console Wars, a new book by Blake J. Harris that chronicles the rise of Sega during the 90’s. It’s a delightful book, full of endlessly fascinating details, such as how Target’s lenient return policy allowed customers to return years-old NES’s in order to get credit towards a SNES. Needless to say, this didn’t sit well with Nintendo and it led to Target pulling Nintendo products from the stores for a time. I lived through this era and reading the behind the scenes drama that went on has been very enjoyable. My nostalgia bones are all tingling right now. Continue reading The Eternal War: A Look at the Repeating Console Cycle

Nintendo’s Financial Slump and Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire Announcement

pokemon omega ruby pokemon alpha sapphire

Today is a strange day to be a Nintendo stalwart and a Pokemon fan. Nintendo’s fiscal year ended on March 31, 2014 and the company is not looking good right now. Due to lower than expected sales numbers on both the Wii U and the 3DS, Nintendo has fallen below their projected income for the last fiscal year, and that’s even after taking into account the fact that they lowered their projections back in January of this year. With Nintendo once again skipping E3 and maintaining that they will not be showing off new hardware, one has to wonder what they plan on doing to right the ship.

Of course, if things are looking down a little Pokemon can always give you a nice bump. This morning, Nintendo announced Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, updated versions of the classic Game Boy Advanced titles that released in 2003. Promising an “epic new story” in a “dramatic new world”, both games will be hitting the 3DS/2DS this November. Long-time series fans will recall that the original Ruby and Sapphire games took place in Hoenn, but speculation about the potential Mega Legendaries on the game’s cover art has pointed to the fact that this game might be in a new location.

What do you guys think about this news? Sad for Nintendo? Excited for more Pokemon? Sound off!

Source – GoNintendo, Nintendo, Eurogamer, Pokemon.com

Get Your Mario Kart 8 Details From This Weird Nintendo Direct

I’m not going to lie, I really like Nintendo Directs, but I feel like this one for Mario Kart 8 is like one of those Internet videos that people find really funny for some reason but I just don’t understand the humor (this is how I feel about Mega 64, for example). This is one weird Nintendo Direct, but we’re getting some hot Mario Kart 8 info so I’m down with it. It’s almost 40 minutes long, so make sure you’re sitting comfortably.

I think the most appealing part about this is the free game that you get for registering Mario Kart 8 with Club Nintendo, although there’s plenty of great stuff coming in Mario Kart 8 as well. The game looks fantastic and I’m really glad Nintendo is moving towards fully orchestrated scores and away from the mostly-awful MIDI tracks that plagued Mario Kart Wii. How is Mario Kart 8 shaping up for you? Pre-order confirmed?

The GamerSushi Show, Ep 89: Super Sushi Bros.

gamersushi show ep 89

Fans of Patrick‘s last appearance in the days of yore of the GamerSushi Show (well, episode 83 actually) will be overjoyed to learn that the site’s most Easterly Canadian is back for another go.

Given Patrick’s stance as a Wii U supporter, it’s fortunate that we brought him in to discuss the massive Super Smash Bros. info-dump that came out this week. We also talk about out impressions of the Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number trailer and break down the beneficial changes Blizzard has brought to Diablo 3 for the new expansion, Reaper of Souls.

So listen, rate, give us five stars on Twitter and we’ll be back in your ear holes soon!

0:00 – 1:06 Intro
1:07 – 13:19 Super Smash Bros. Nintendo Direct
13:20 – 17:49 Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number trailer
17:50 – 26:07 What we’re playing
26:08 – 37:05 Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls
37:06 – 39:50 Jeff’s Titanfall obsession
39:51 – 42:10 Outro