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Partner to Francesca and father to Finley. I created this video game site.


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Joined 01/23/2012
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DF Retro is on the scene with a brand new video that runs benchmarks against PC's before and after the recent Sprectre & Meltdown CPU vulnerability patches. If your not familiar with the recent bugs effecting nearly every computer, I found some great PC World articles that explain the situation pretty well.

"A pair of nasty CPU flaws exposed this week have serious ramifications for home computer users. Meltdown and Spectre let attackers access protected information in your PC’s kernel memory, potentially revealing sensitive details like passwords, cryptographic keys, personal photos and email, or anything else you’ve used on your computer. These are serious flaws. Fortunately, CPU and operating system vendors pushed out patches fast, and you can protect your PC from Meltdown and Spectre to some degree."

Looks like Microsoft & Apple have released patches for computers and phones but you will need to apply firmware updates for your motherboard and CPU. With all of that said, it looks like that many games aren't negatively impacted by the security patches. It seems the biggest performance hits are to virtual machines or cloud computing but since none of that matters for games running on our computers that are single player much of gaming looks to be fine. The hit to cloud computing looks pretty incredible though the end run being that either virtualization needs to be optimized or people might need to run more hardware to cover current workloads.


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Gizmodo is reporting from CES that Hyperkin is showing off prototype for an upcoming Gameboy it will be releasing. From the article:

"The Ultra Game Boy’s housing is made from aluminum, which has a wonderful heft when you pick it up. Your original Game Boy is probably covered in knicks and scratches, but it will take a lot of abuse for Hyperkin’s remake to start showing wear and tear. The Ultra Game Boy carries over the original’s volume and contrast dials, but the final version will include a third dial allowing you to adjust the portable console’s new backlit LCD display through the entire RGB spectrum. That backlight can also be turned off, if you want a truly authentic, squinty, Game Boy experience.

New features for the Ultra Game Boy will include a built-in six-hour battery, a USB-C port for charging, as well as a pair of stereo speakers, and left and right audio-out connections. Why the improvements to the Game Boy’s sound system when all of its classic games only generate mono sound? Aside from appealing to retro gamers, Hyperkin’s Ultra Game Boy is also being customized for chiptune musicians who use the classic console to create modern electronic tunes. Yes, it’s a thing, and a very popular thing.

There is a pretty large market for new hardware for people that love playing on their original game carts. I own a Retron 3 and it's a great way to play NES, SNES & Genesis games on one system. With a price point at under a hundred dollars this might be a must have for Gameboy lovers. Since Hyperkin can get the price under a hundred bucks and make it as nice as it is I wonder if we might be getting a Gameboy classic series from Nintendo at some point? I bet if Nintendo did that they'd be as popular as the other Nintendo Classics if not moreso.

Head over to Gizmodo for the whole article and more pictures of the new Hyperkin Gameboy.


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I expect that 2018 will be a great year in gaming but how great will it be? I reached out to people in the Cheerful Ghost community to look into the future to see what awesome stuff might be coming this year. At the end of the year we can come back to this and see how well we did and use creative readings to make us all look way smarter than we actually are!

If you have any other predictions drop them in the comments!

Nintendo Releases Virtual Console for Switch

Will Ball: One person can dream, right? Nintendo will finally release a virtual console for the Switch. It will cover the NES, SNES, all gameboys, N64 and GameCube. This will keep the Switch as the number one console throughout 2018.

Nintendo 64 Classic

jdodson: Nintendo will announce the new Nintendo 64 classic and launch it in September of 2018. It will be $100 and come with two controllers and a solid lineup of Nintendo 64 games. The system won’t be seen as better than the Super Nintendo Classic because the lineup won’t be perceived as quite as strong because of licensing issues(Rare) and some games won’t hold up to people’s memory of them. I’m excited for this and will get it but I think we hit “peak Nintendo classic” with the Super Nintendo Classic and it will be hard to top it.

Final Fantasy VII

Travis: We will finally get some news about that long-awaited Final Fantasy VII remake that was announced a few years back. It may or may not release in 2018 but whenever it does release it will be a solid game, but many fans of the original will be unsatisfied because of the lack of traditional turn-based battles and other changes.

More AAA Games for VR

Will Ball: More AAA Games will be released for VR. Following the footsteps of Skyrim, Doom and Fallout, we will see more ports of AAA games for all the VR headsets. There will also be an MMO game released for at least one of the VR headsets

Games of Three, Let Them Be!

Travis: Valve will learn to count to three and we’ll get news of either Half-Life 3 (unlikely), Portal 3, Team Fortress 3, CounterStrike 3, Left 4 Dead 3, or DotA 3.

Even More VR!

AdamPFarnsworth: VR will continue to become more and more valuable in architecture and engineering design and presentation to clients.

Noodle DLC is The New Horse Armor

Timogorgon: Square-Enix will continue their advertising program with Cup Noodles. They'll eventually move beyond product placement and roll out an entirely Noodle based DLC for one of their games.

JJ’s cut of The Last Jedi is Released

Will Ball: What would a Cheerful Ghost article be without some Star Wars? After the fan backlash of The Last Jedi, and JJ’s carefully laid plans being ripped apart, Lucasfilm will release a JJ Abrams’ cut of The Last Jedi. This will set up Episode 9 so it can be true to JJ’s vision. It will also make The Last Jedi the highest grossing movie ever.

Let's Think About Loot Boxes

Travis: While we certainly haven’t seen the end of loot boxes, the Star Wars: Battlefront 2 outcry will make EA rethink their purpose a bit and others will hopefully follow suit, making pay-to-win hard to find in a game you have to pay for up front.

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When the Super Nintendo Classic released last year one game people thought was missing was Square's classic RPG Chrono Trigger. I agree with that thought but the SNES Classic's inclusion of Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy VI, Earthbound and Super Mario RPG really give the SNES Classic the best of breed RPG's of that generation. All that said, Chrono Trigger is one of those games I missed playing as it came out later in the Super Nintendo's lifecycle. I put it on my list of games to play in 2018 and recently started it and I'm going to write about how that's going from time to time until I beat it.

"A chance encounter amid the festivities of Guardia's Millennial Fair in Leene Square introduces our young hero, Crono, to a girl by the name of Marle.

Deciding to explore the fair together, the two soon find themselves at an exhibition of the Telepod, the latest invention by Crono's longtime friend Lucca.

After only a couple hours playing Chrono Trigger I understand why this game is one of the most beloved RPG games of the Super Nintendo Era. Released after Secret of Mana and Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger is a game made at the height of "Square in peak RPG creation mode." The game feels like it's a mashup of the best parts of Secret of Mana and the Final Fantasy series that goes an entirely new direction with a fresh world and characters. Chrono Trigger keeps the top down overworld of Final Fantasy VI but goes a bit of a different direction graphically as it's not in the Super Nintendo's mode 7. Chrono Trigger borrows some fighting elements from Secret of Mana but pulls it together in the same turn based battle system from Final Fantasy.

The music from Chrono Trigger was co-written by Nobuo Uematsu who worked on the music for Final Fantasy VI. Just like most other aspects of Chrono Trigger the music feels like a best of breed 16-bit square game but also goes it's own direction as to not be mimicry. In fact i'd say the music really tips the game into something very special and I can see why fans find it so compelling.

So far i've been taking my time moving through the game and talking to people in the world while exploring as much of it I can before moving on. I'm also spending a bit more time level and gold grinding for fun and to be prepared for boss and dungeon encounters. So far it feels like i'm in the intro to the game so nothing is terribly difficult but i'm feeling out the game systems, learning what tech combos to use and the general flow of the battle system.

One cool part about playing Chrono Trigger for the first time in 2018 is that i've never played it before so I am playing it entirely fresh, something I wish I could do with other games like Secret of Mana or Link to the Past. The game holds up very well and at no point during my playthrough so far did the game feel antiquated or boring. In fact, I really understand why people rank this game so high and i'm glad I decided to pick this up when I did. Since Super Nintendo carts of Chrono Trigger sell upwards of $150 I decided to pickup the DS version and i'm playing that on my 3DS. It's a good version that pulls in a newer translation than the SNES version with some extra content but keeps the graphics and music of the original SNES version.

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Games Done Quick is a twice yearly charity speedrun that started today and is running 24/7 all week raising money for The Prevent Cancer Foundation. You can watch the event stream linked above all day and night until January 14th!

I watch this event every year and donate because it's so much fun to watch and the charities are well worth supporting. I think we've all known someone with cancer and chipping in a couple bucks can help.

"The Prevent Cancer Foundation is one of the nation’s leading voluntary health organizations and the only U.S. nonprofit focused solely on cancer prevention and early detection. Founded in 1985, it has catapulted cancer prevention to prominence and fulfills its mission through research, education, outreach and advocacy across the country."


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The illustrious Metal Jesus has a new video out where he shows off his Nintendo 64 hardware mod that adds HDMI. It's a pretty extensive mod that hacks into the graphic chip of the system and gives it a very clean HD output to modern televisions. Jesus does some side by sides with the composite video and the graphics output looks incredible. Much like many old system HDMI mods this seems to really crisp up those games but with a price tag of $400 I wonder if it's worth it the cost? If you love the Nintendo 64 and play yours a lot it's well worth considering but this price eclipses the cost of a modern console.

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I don't typically write list posts but it's the new year and i've been thinking more about some of the better parts of 2017. One awesome part is talking to everyone on Cheerful Ghost and taking part in Cheerful Ghost Radio that launched this year! It's fun to be part of something that people enjoy even if our community is small. So let's wind up and get to my list which I wouldn't consider to be in any kind of actual order.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Return

I was beyond hyped that a new MST3K season was coming and happily Kickstarted it. I've talked about that process here and the results are for everyone to enjoy on Netflix. MST3K is a special show to me and was recently renewed for another season. I saw MST3K live this year for my birthday which was a really fun experience. The new show lives up to the old seasons and I'm excited to see where it goes in season 12.

NES Classic & Mega Man 2

I got a NES Classic this year and as part of that have been focusing on playing games that are new-ish to me that I didn't previous play before. Mega Man 2 was a game i've played a handful of times but really focused on getting good at this year. It's been a fun ride and i'm glad I was able to get a NES Classic because i'm not sure i've had played the game otherwise. I like the curated aspect of the NES Classic and the fact that they sort of have you pick between a handful of amazing games, for me, makes the process of picking what to play next a lot easier.

I got a SNES Classic recently but the clear winner here for 2017 is the NES Classic as I played it a lot. In fact i've played it so much and retro games in general that I realized I haven't really played many PC titles this year. In 2018 I plan to double down here and really just play games I missed or want to come back to. Some are PC but many are older games and find that with a new kid, this seems like a good way to focus on gaming in 2018.

Alien Covenant Score

Alien Covenant is one of those movies that I really enjoyed but didn't really seem to be generally well loved by everyone. It's not perfect but when I saw it in New York on a work trip it was the perfect time for a Ridley Scott horror movie. Whereas I think the movie worked for me the score was a particular highlight. I found Jed Kurzel's score to be so noteworthy that I picked it up on CD and have been listening to it quite a bit since. The homages it plays to James Horner's original are well made and I like that score is very chill and listenable. I usually don't listen to a movie and think about the score but it was so moving it really drew me to pick it up.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

For more of my thoughts check out our recent Cheerful Ghost Radio episode on it but to sum it up, it's a much welcomed edition to the Star Wars saga. I've seen it twice now and it's worked for me both times. Watching it a second time I wasn't quite in the throes of it as I knew where it was going but the first time was one of the most heart pounding cinematic rides i've been on. For someone that goes to the theater very little now because I have a kid when I go it's special and Rian Johnson delivered a very beautiful movie that I still think about now.

NES Metroid

I played the original NES Metroid this year on the NES Classic and completed it. It's a game that holds up over time but you need to be in a certain headspace to play it. If you are looking for a more accessible entry to the franchise I recommend the Super Metroid or Zero Mission but NES Metroid is a classic and I enjoyed completing it.

Get Out

I'd rank Get Out as one of the best films of 2017. It's a horror movie with a unique twist and adds a fresh voice to the genre. Loved it so much that I bought it and gave it out as presents to a couple of my friends. It's a movie I recently re-watched and really enjoyed a second time. After watching it a second time I watched it yet again with the directors commentary. At the end of the commentary track Jordan Peele said that everyone that listened to it was a true fan and I agree with him, i'm a huge fan of Get Out.

Add Violence

It's a special time when a new Nine Inch Nails albums is released and this year was no exception because we got Add Violence. One thing I dig about NiN is that each album is a little bit different and has a new viewpoint on the things it talks about. Add Violence seems to be a commentary about our current world, relationships and choices we make and how those impact everyone. It's a haunting album and the last song "The Background World" asks an interesting question to the listener before it deconstructs the beat into a widening breath of static until you can't tell the beat from the noise. Which is, I think the point of the album and what it says about our modern world.

Stranger Things 2

We have a whole Cheerful Ghost Radio show about this but the TLDR is that this is a good season and I want to be Steve Harrington. You know.. that hair!

Link Between Worlds 3DS

A sequel to one of the greatest games of all time? Yes please. While not perfect it's a great ending to the, what I consider, LttP Trilogy with Link to the Past, Link's Awakening & Link Between Worlds. Someday I might play them all in that order too. Between Worlds is a fun Zelda game that follows many of the tropes setup in Link to the Past and spins it up enough to be interesting but not enough to be Breath of the Wild. It's a safe sequel perhaps but I appreciate it for not being too long.

If we get a a Link's Awakening sequel i'll happily refer to these games as the Link to the Past Quadrilogy! Or maybe Nintendo might just want to give Link's Awakening the HD rerelease treatment? I'd be down with that.


Logan is a fitting end to Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. That said my first time around watching the film was such a bad theater going experience it almost soured me on the whole movie. Apparently sitting behind people that talk loudly and might possibly be drunk isn't a great way to experience Logan. That said I picked it up on Blu-ray on black friday for a couple bucks and watched it in black and white and loved it. I'm not saying B&W is the best way to see it but it worked well for such a bleak film. Sad we won't get more Jackman but the movie being such a great conclusion was the right way for him to hang up the claws.

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Or at least that's what that incredible ad from the 90's said as the kid playing F-Zero was so blown back by the game it literally flattened him and then he walked off looking like Gumby. For real, that actually happened in that ad I linked and these kinds of old ads are one of the reasons why I still love the 90's.

F-Zero was a launch title for the Super Nintendo that showcased the systems mode 7 graphics. Mode 7 was a pretty hyped SNES graphical mode that allowed games like F-Zero, Super Mario Kart, Secret of Mana & Final Fantasy VI to exist. Basically Mode 7 created a 3D like view that works really well for racing games and other titles that feature air travel systems (like SoM and FFVI).

Whenever people talk about F-Zero they remember that it came with multiplayer but in reality it never had it. I think people confuse it with later games in the franchise or Super Mario Kart. I think multiplayer wasn't included because it was a launch title and Nintendo needed to get it ready OR maybe it wasn't widely known how to make split-screen multiplayer work at that time. Either way F-Zero still shines as a fun racer even in a world with much more modern games such as Need For Speed.

One aspect of F-Zero that makes it game that's still fun to play now is that it's really challenging. Each car selection comes with upsides and significant downsides enough to make the choice matter. Choose Dr. Stewarts yellow Golden Fox racer and you will blast ahead of that pack easily because it has the fastest acceleration but if you are bumped around on the track you are going to take damage faster as his car isn't very tough. F-Zero pro's seem to think that Samurai Goroh with his Fire Stingray is the best racer because while it has the absolute slowest acceleration, if you can make your way into the lead and hold it the tough armor coupled with the unmatched top speed is the best choice.

Typically when i've played F-Zero in the past i've played as Captain Falcon or Dr. Stewart but as Stewart I die... a lot. After reading what some F-Zero pro's suggest in going with Samurai Goroh it took some getting used to but for the first time I finally won all 5 races for Night League Easy.

I picked up a Super Nintendo Classic for Christmas and have been spending mostly all of my gaming time playing F-Zero and I plan to continue. The original SNES F-Zero cart came with a battery save so all your high scores on completing the zones is saved. The SNES Classic keeps this feature without the need to save your state and that's kind of a neat thing. If you need to step away you can save you state but I don't find for this game it's something I need to use a lot.

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Last year the developers of Diablo celebrated it's big anniversary by adding a mode to the game where you could play it with pixelated graphics and take on a dungeon that felt eerily like the original game. Seems like Blizzard is bringing the even back starting now and ending on January 31st.

"Your journey begins on the trail of a group of mysterious cultists causing trouble in Sanctuary. As you hunt them down in Adventure Mode, you’ll uncover clues leading to a portal into Tristram’s past, and the terrifying darkness that took hold of the town so many years ago. . . .

Follow the clues and you’ll soon find yourself in a realm of glorious RetroVision™, where an all-too-familiar cathedral looms. Explore the depths and you’ll discover familiar enemies and iconic items, all brought to life in the Diablo III engine. Meanwhile, deep beneath the catacombs, the Dark Lord himself awaits any intrepid adventurer who dares to challenge him. . . .

What is a Diablo game without shiny new loot to call your own? Completing activities in the anniversary event yields unique transmogrification effects, achievements, portraits, pets, and more.

While some rewards are easy to find, others may have you scouring every nook or unlocking every achievement before you can get your hands on them. Can you earn them all? There’s only one way to find out!

I missed this last year so I think I'm going to take a quick peek and see how it the event plays!


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I found the Digital Foundry YouTube channel this year and have been sharing many of their videos since. They did some end of year wrap up videos and two I wanted to highlight were the best CPU's of the year linked above and the PC Graphics Review below. The CPU video is pretty interesting as AMD and Intel have been locked in bitter competition making for a very wide and interesting selection but the GPU story isn't as compelling with the Nvidia 1080 leading the pack. It's a great card it's just that it's expensive and there aren't many great alternatives. Hopefully AMD or Intel can release something to give Nvidia a run for their chips but outside of that 2018 might be Nvidia's year again.


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If you recently got a new Nintendo Switch for the holidays you might want to pick up a few accessories for it. One of my favorite gaming YouTubers Metal Jesus recently created a video showcasing the gear he has for his Switch where he outlines the good and the bad. Apparently the picking up an official Switch dock costs $99? That's a lot but it seems like that was the best option he found.

If you are a Switch owner what are some of the things you picked up for it?

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Wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Presents Day! I hope the mythical Presents Day Elf brought you everyone you wanted and more and that you can bathe yourself in cookies and egg nog. Since it’s Presents Day some of us might have some fresh new video games we are all playing and other cool stuff so if you are interested in sharing what you got drop it in the comments!

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Fallout Shelter has had specially themed holiday quests for sometime but this week I decided to get in on the special season update during this Christmas. It seems the game adds a couple quests to sate your dystopian wasteland cheer in "The Spirit of Taking" and "Santa's Helpers." Besides these new quests there is also a decorated tree outside your vault with twinkle lights that help set a more cheery mood. The quests are set just like the others but the quest dialog boxes are set in green and the dialog is set to a very Fallout Christmas vibe. For instance with Santa's Helpers at one point my people went into a raider area claiming to be Santa's Helpers where I could try and spread Christmas cheer using nice words and singing songs or by fighting. Since I try to be nice around the holidays we sang songs and that got us a good ending where we earned a special Science outfit. During the beginning of a couple quests you can win a Santa costume and an in game character that I took a screenshot of. Besides the cool Santa outfit you can also get some elf costumers and I decided to send Santa and his elves out to the wasteland on the infinite explore mode. Santa does well exploring the wasteland and as you can see I need to bring him in soon to cash in on his loot and give him new stimpacks for his next loot run.


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What if scenarios are interesting and more so with a proof of concept. We've had modern Donkey Kong Country releases in HD such as Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze on Wii U and Donkey Kong Returns on the Wii. YouTuber BlobVanDam created the video Bramble Blast that is a recreation of Donkey Kong Country 2 in full blown HD. Personally i'd buy a modern revisioning of the original SNES Donkey Kong Trilogy in HD which would have to be essentially a whole new set of games in the same upgrade style as Super Mario All Stars. I bet Switch owners wouldn't mind either.

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After I picked up the NES Classic this year I played a lot of Mega Man 2. It’s the one i’ve played the most of as a kid too but never could actually beat it. After putting in the time to complete Mega Man 2 on the NES Classic I continued playing it to keep improving boss battle by boss battle. I still have yet to focus on the entire run but instead make sure certain parts are ironed out instead. For instance, right now, i’m focusing on completing the boss stages in a nearly perfect manner. Later on i’ll focus more on the Wiley stages and then glue them together.
The reason why I like focusing on the game this way is that hopefully micro focusing on aspects of the game can come together to allow me to complete the game without dying once. At least, that’s my goal and so far I’m a ways from that but it’s fun to keep playing the game and get better each time I play it.

In 2015 Capcom released the Mega Man Legacy Collection that includes Mega Man through Mega Man 6 making it a must have for Mega Man fans or people that want to get into the franchise. After playing a ton of Mega Man 2 I decided to get the Legacy Collection but I didn’t want to get it on Steam. In the end I decided to get it on 3DS and had to get it used as it seems that Capcom is no longer stocking fresh copies in stores or online, at least not at the time I wanted to buy it. The used copy arrived in great condition and included two mega man stickers and two codes to 3DS Mega Man skins that surprisingly enough, were not redeemed. Mega Man Legacy Collection includes all 6 original Mega Man games that you can play in “Mega Man” or “Rockman” mode. I’m not entirely sure what the di erence is here but it seems you can play the original US Mega Man or the other Japanese or EU version.

If you are interested in looking over the game concept art, manuals and box art that Capcom created for each regions Mega Man release Legacy Collection includes a Museum and Database mode that makes accessing all of that really easy. You can even zoom in to inspect the ne detail on the box art which is a feature I enjoyed more than I thought I would. Like a lot of remastered versions Legacy Collection also includes all of the music in a music player you can listen to as much as you want. Want to DJ a retro party? Hook up your 3DS to the sound system and mix it up over all 6 games. Or not... I really have no idea if people have retro game parties but it’s a thing you could do if you want.

Mega Man Legacy Collection is a nearly perfect release if not for one minor gripe I have. In the US the NES was presented in a 4x3 aspect ratio on all our CRT TV's. Nintendo games were sprite based and each pixel was a perfect square yet the Nintendo slightly stretched the image to use the full width of the TV. It’s one of those lovable aspects of the analog days and not a choice I actually fault Nintendo for as the image t the screen and never looked bad as a result. That said in the Mega Man Legacy Collection the default mode is pixel perfect meaning the 4x3 aspect ration is not preserved. The NES Classic and SNES Classic default to 4x3 mode but also provide a pixel perfect mode for people that want to play the games in that way. That said, not having the choice to play it in 4x3 is a bit of a bummer. Again, it’s not a huge deal but the game doesn’t look quite right to me but once I tuck in to a play session it’s not something I think about much.

I plan on continuing with the Mega Man series as i’ve really only played Mega Man 2 and 3. The original is included but i’ve heard it’s not quite as good as Mega Man 2 yet I plan on playing it and talking about it. I usually play through games at a snails pace so expect to hear from me in regard to the remaining Legacy Collection games over the entirety of 2018.

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