jdodson1

Joined 01/23/2012

I'm an Engineer and built the video game community Cheerful Ghost and text based mini-MMO Tale of the White Wyvern.

2626 Posts

My 4 year old son Finley got a Pokeball with 3 packs of Pokemon cards as a Thanksgiving present from his Grandma. Since he's still quite young we don't really play the Pokemon card game as much as pretend to bring out cards and attack each other. It's quite silly and he wins a lot because, magically, the made up rules always seem to favor him. One thing I noticed in these new Pokemon card packs he got for Thanksgiving was that they contained a lot more cards than the ones we've picked up at the dollar store and also they come with a digital code to redeem a pack on the Pokemon digital card game. I've haven't played the Pokemon digital card game yet so I decided to give it a shot. One thing to keep in mind that you can play the Pokemon digital card game on Windows, Mac, iPad or an Android tablet for free.

When the Pokemon card game came out 1996 it was huge and I remember playing it with friends. It wasn't quite as challenging to pick up as Magic the Gathering and it was accessible enough for kids. After playing it for a year I decided to walk away from it and after trying my hand at the digital collectable card game I have to say I really enjoy the simplicity of it still. I also think it's cool that each card pack and pre-made deck you buy in real life you can redeem in the digital game. This is something Magic doesn't quite do you and really should consider as it gives more value to the physical & digital game.

So far I'm just playing the training missions starting out but am looking at buying some dueling decks to pick up and play against friends when we can get to that sort of thing.


If you love all things Wololo then you need to watch this LGR Ages of Empires retrospective. Age of Empires is one of the more historically impactful RTS games of all time and as such has received quite a few modern remakes. Age of Empires III was the last game to get a definitive edition and at this point it's all up to Microsoft to launch the brand new Age of Empires IV. I hope Age of Empires IV can take us to some kind of high tech space Age but at this point we don't know a lot about what it will be yet.


Each Thanksgiving Mystery Science Theater 3000 hosts the annual Turkey Day marathon. This year is going ALL DAY and not only that but they’ve secure the rights to two episodes from the Jonah season 11 in Carnival Magic and Cry Wilderness. Full list of episodes below:

9am ET – I Accuse My Parents
11am ET – Hobgoblins
1pm ET – Pod People (TURKEY DAY TOURNAMENT WINNER!)
3pm ET – Carnival Magic
5pm ET – Final Justice
7pm ET – The Day the Earth Froze
9pm ET – Night of the Blood Beast (Wildcard Entry!)
11pm ET – Cry Wilderness

MST has also recorded a ton of new segments featuring the live show crew as well as cast members from seasons 11 and 12. Since Netflix cancelled MST3K the future of the show isn’t known and I’m wondering if they plan on dropping more news about a season 13? The word on the street is that season 13 will be crowd funded but no official word on that has hit yet.

https://mst3k.org/2020/11/26/turkey-day-is-upon-us-heres-the-list-of-episodes-plus-some-big-surprises/


Doom historically has been ported to everything from the Super Nintendo to pregnancy tests and now the new Nintendo Game & Watch. The new Game & Watch isn't very powerful and it looks like quite a bit was required to get it to run at all. The system isn't as easy to hack as the NES or SNES classic but if you have some time on your hands it looks like Doom will run but doesn't play very well as of yet.

The Game & Watch is also quite limited in terms of storage (1.1 Mb) so even if you do hack it doesn't seem like it would be able to store an entire NES ROM set.


jdodson gives this a solid "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
jdodson gives this a "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is out on Disney+ and after watching it with my family I can say that it's quite fun. It improves on the original Star Wars Holiday Special in nearly every way which... isn't too hard to do.

If you are curious where this fits into the Star Wars cannon it appears to take place directly after Rise of Skywalker and I imagine isn't directly considered canonical as it alters the Star Wars timeline considerably due to a fun plotline involving time travel. If you enjoy watching holiday films this time of year and have Disney+ and dig Star Wars this is for you.


Mega Man on DOS is a unique game in the Mega Man series that seems entirely disavowed by Capcom. It's a Mega Man game with a very interesting story and the Gaming Historian recently brought that story to his channel. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Mega Man for DOS even though I could honestly never get past the intro part with the dogs.

If you are looking for more Mega Man on DOS fun check out this incredible speedrun by Lizstar at AGDQ 2019. Not only does it feature the infamous Mega Man on DOS but Lizstar crushes the run at a blistering 10:50 minutes and doesn't get killed by the dog right away!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbs6PEgXEJg


Mikey Neumann is a popular YouTuber and video game writer on such hits as Brothers in Arms, Borderlands & Co-writer on Borderlands 2. His YouTube channel Movies with Mikey typically covers films yet at times he takes a peek at games and in his latest video goes deep on the history of Mario. Have Mario retrospectives been done before? Yep, but if you want something a bit more personal and more light hearted this is a must watch.

"Time to throw some turtle shells and turn up—This MARIOS with Mikey episode gives you the origin story of one of the most iconic characters in all pop culture, from Italian plumber to international icon."


LGR is a fun YouTube channel focusing on retro PC hardware and esoterica and from time to time reviews classic games such as this recent review of Doom 3. LGR focuses on the Doom 3 original retail release, which is my personal favorite too(flashlight mechanics >).

One thing LGR highlights if you are looking into jumping back in to Doom 3 PC retail on Steam or using your original install discs is the Dewm 3 source port that takes the iD Software Doom 3 source and adds updated resolutions for modern displays. The original Doom 3 release is stuck in 4x3 aspect ratios and this source port / mod really gives the original Doom 3 retail the love that the BFG brought while keeping the original release prime.

https://dhewm3.org/


I watched this short recently on Saturday Night Live and I laughed so much I literally cried. I'm not sure if you find this information fun or disturbing but I'm sure you will let me know in the comments.


Tablets are a staple of modern life that gazillions of people love to use to surf the web, listen to music and watch movies. Tablets hit that sweet spot of just enough screen as a laptop and minus the bulk that includes a keyboard, trackpad and media drive that most people don't need. My preference has never been for Tablets as I have generally preferred getting a larger phone with a nice screen and having a laptop. The larger phone is nice to surf the web late at night and the laptop is ace at basically doing whatever you need. That said, I've been wanting to get a tablet for those evenings when you just want to watch a movie on the couch or from bed but don't want to pull out the laptop and the phone screen just isn't quite the right size. First world problems, to be sure.

One thought I've had since the Nintendo Switch was released was if Apple would note what Nintendo has done and come a bit closer to supporting games in a more classic way. Tap games have been a huge part of gaming for some but some games just don't translate well and that distance makes a full gaming experience hard on phones and tablets. That is, it was until Apple decided to support a ton of different controllers on iOS such as Xbox Wireless Controllers that support bluetooth, PlayStation DualShock 4 and any MFI Apple certified controller. Apple certified MFI controllers have been supported in iOS for ages but when Apple officially added support for XBox & Playstation 4 controllers I knew Apple was trying to give controller gaming a shot in the arm as a lot of gamers have access to these controllers already.

Fast forward to now and I have recently secured a fresh new iPad Air 4th gen and one major part of getting it was to play games on it. But support for controllers on iOS isn't widespread and tap gaming still rules the roost so how good is gaming on an iPad and iOS? One big miss of this post is Apple Arcade as I don't have a subscription and haven't felt the need to get one. One big reason is frankly the iPad naturally comes with enough gaming for me in it's free to play and games I've already purchased. At some point I may jump into Apple Arcade but for now, I'm good.

Games Are As Fun As The Controls Are

I'll just say right out of the box that a lot of my experience of gaming on phones hasn't been fun because the controls aren't fun. Like I said before, some games just don't work for me by tippy tapping on a screen. I know some folks love tapping away playing a shooter on a phone but I just don't. I've spent so many hours playing shooters with a keyboard and mouse and controller it's harder to move to a less precise scheme. Platformers also don't always transfer well to phones either so, to date, unless the game was made with the tapping in mind it hasn't been much fun for me. Adding in some totally bullshit free to play mechanics and a lot of phone games don't hold my attention very long.

All that in mind I bought an XBox One bluetooth wireless controller knowing that it would pair well with iOS to play games on my iPad. I wasn't sure how well the XBox controller would work with iOS but I can honestly say that after using it for a week it's incredibly seamless and a real testament to Microsoft engineering (it's a great controller) and Apple to do such a great job making it feel like a native device on iOS. The native integration with the XBox controller is so good on iOS that the new battery widget that shows battery life on your iPad and other devices like bluetooth headphones also shows the XBox One battery level. It seems a lot of tech companies are using open technology to connect devices such as bluetooth, usb c and that means when we buy something we can use it many more situations. Not only can the XBox One bluetooth controller pair with iOS but also my PC and Mac too.

What Tablet Games Work With Controllers?

Call of Duty Mobile: Historically I'm not a Call of Duty fan but I heard good things about Call of Duty Mobile and that it had great controller support. I'd say if you played Call of Duty mobile with tap controls it's a good shooter. Solid effort, some fun there but with a controller it's such an elevated experience. In fact, Call of Duty mobile with the XBox controller on the iPad feels like Counter Strike or at least it does the way I'm playing it. The cool part of Call of Duty mobile is like Fortnite it's a free to play game where you buy in a season pass and skins. There are some unfortunate loot box mechanics to getting certain skins but if you don't care about "catching them all" it's entirely avoidable. I've already unlocked a couple skins and find you can collect enough stuff through normal play or watching videos to get currency to unlock stuff to be completely fine. In fact I find the whole watch a video to unlock currency thing to be a good trade if you wanted to get something in game and get the developers money in a way that doesn't cost you anything but time.

I've avoided the Call of Duty Mobile Battle Royale modes entirely in favor of playing Frontline mode which reminds me of a simplified Counter Strike style of gameplay. There are other modes such as free for all or other capture and hold modes that make Call of Duty Mobile a more compelling game than it's Desktop/PC counterpart Call of Duty Warzone (add more game modes please).

NBA 2K Mobile: NBA 2K Mobile takes the battle tested NBA 2K formula and simplifies it for mobile tap controls and a free to play ecosystem. The free to play revolves around energy so the idea is you play matches that takes energy and at some point if you play enough you wait for more energy to recharge or pay to buy more. I find this a fine free to play model because I've never played enough to run down my energy. Oh and it works really well with a controller too. In fact NBA 2K mobile with a controller feels like a normal ol' NBA 2K game with shorter matches and some simplified controls. I'm not saying this is the best basketball game experience you can have, in fact just getting a full NBA 2K game would be, but it's a solid mobile effort and it being free isn't a bad thing either.

Gwent: Card games on mobile work because the card game mechanic is perfect for tap controls. As such there is no controller support and even if they had it I'm not sure I'd play it that way. I'm a very light Gwent player and as such am not very good but it's a great game on a Tablet and is also a good example of a free to play game that doesn't feel too predatory. It might be harder for hardcore Gwent players and you may need to buy a fair amount of packs to be competitive but for just playing around in training mode it's fun enough for me.

Did I say Gwent's art style is incredibly beautiful too? I'm not sure if it's my new iPad display or what but Gwent pops for me and is a good example of a very rich art design that works great on a tablet.

Wayward Souls: Wayward Souls is a game I bought a few years ago on my iPhone that is one of the best rogue like platformers with tap controls. That said, it's native support on tablet for controllers blows it up to one of the most fun rogue likes I've played in years. Given that I prefer a controller for these kinds of games Wayward Souls feels at home on my tablet. Given how good this is I might pick it up on PC and if you haven't played it I seriously recommend you give it a go.

Doom: We all knew I'd squeeze yet another Doom review into this post so let's get to it. Yes I love Doom and yes I have to get it on every platform I can. So far I have Doom on DOS, PC, Mac, PS3, Switch and now iOS. First I wanted to see how well Doom with tap controls fared and it's not great. It's a good effort by Bethesda here but Doom wasn't made for these kinds of controls and it doesn't feel natural to play it this way. Recently Doom on mobile added support for controllers and it makes it feel as good as Doom is to play on the Switch, which is to say, it's a very worthy port.

My Thoughts on How Gaming Goes From Here

For the most part you can port just about any game to any system and there is a good story now that the game can even be quite a bit of fun. When ports of games like Bioshock, Borderlands and Doom sell fantastically well on the Switch and we now see how good controller gaming has come to tablets I'm wondering how long until tablets and the like are normal delivery platforms for big box games? The monetization for games on mobile platforms seems like the final hurdle here and how people consider pricing on these platforms might be more prohibitive than the technology itself. Case in point I just picked up Stardew Valley on iOS for $3 and with a controller it feels like a very natural way to play but it's $14.99 on Steam and that price distance, while good for me, makes it hard for bigger games to come to mobile.

That said, the future of games seems to be every game can be played anywhere and it seems like it's just a matter of which platforms the developers decide make the most sense to work with.

More Information on What Controllers Are Supported in iOS

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210414


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