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.

2701 Posts

The latest Nintendo direct brought some great news for Switch fans. One new game collection to be announced was quite a welcomed surprise in the Portal: Companion Collection. Basically it's just as it sounds, Valve is releasing the Portal & Portal 2 Companion Collection on Nintendo Switch. My hope is this has a physical release, because if it doesn't i'll pick it up. I still play Portal and Portal 2 with my 5 year old son on the Series X backwards compatibility and getting a new fresh port on Switch would be awesome. My hope is Valve releases this collection on the other consoles in 4K but if this is simply a Switch port, that seems fine too. It's an interesting choice considering Valve is launching it's Steam Deck handheld broadly very soon.

The next news drop I found interesting was the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Booster Course Pass DLC. Mario Kart 8 was originally released in 2014 for the Wii U with it's own DLC. That later was packaged up for the Switch as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and the game is still so popular with fans Nintendo is releasing a 48 course DLC track pass that will drop 8 new tracks at a time throughout 2022. For $25 this seems like quite the deal and Nintendo has also included it as a bonus for the upgraded Nintendo Online subscription. Interesting to see how Nintendo is adding value to Nintendo Online through normally paid DLC being included for subscribers.


Nintendo Switch Sports looks to be the sequel to Wii Sports I always wanted. Recently my son played Wii bowling at he was hooked. Nintendo Switch Sports looks to bring all the Wii classic sports games to the table along with some of the best games from Wii Sports Resort (the Sword Fighting game). Switch Sports drops 4/29 and it's a day one purchase for me.


Finally, Earthbound Beginnings on NES and Earthbound for SNES are coming to Nintendo online, which should bring these classic games to a larger audience. While a bit late, it's nice to see these come to the system even if I'm letting my Nintendo Online subscription lapse.


Microsoft is acquiring Activision for 69 billion, Take Two acquired Zynga for 13 billion and just today word broke that Sony acquired Bungie for 4 billion. I'm not sure how I would have guessed 2020 would start but it wouldn't be with some of the biggest tech acquisitions.

I can't really speak for Take Two, but generally speaking I don't mind these acquisitions as I'm hopeful Microsoft would do well with Activision/Blizzard and I'm not sure there would be much of a change with Sony acquiring Bungie beyond us getting more games from them. With that, consolidating all of the main game franchises in a handful of companies isn't great and I wonder how long multi-platform gaming will last? It used to be that the majority of releases were multi-platform but it seems those days are sadly numbered.


I wouldn't have guess that one of my most anticipated games on 2022 would be a Lego game but it's a Star Wars game so I suppose it's not too surprising. Truth is, I've played a handful of Lego Star Wars games and to date I've found some to be good and some to be not great. From the look of this, it seems developer Traveller's Tales has built an entirely new Lego Star Wars game including each movie from the Skywalker Saga and really make them look fantastic. Which is, most likely, why the game was delayed into this year because ... The Lego Skywalker Saga looks massive.

I'm not sure this game will be a day one purchase for me as I have questions about how unlocking character and such will work. Can you unlock all the character easily or will they be annoying out of reach behind loot boxes? I don't mind buying characters through DLC but if a game has a lot of that I usually wait a bit to pick it all up for a bit less than the typical $99 deluxe launch price point.

All that said, the game looks great and something that my five year old and I will enjoy playing together. Is Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga something you are interested in and at what point are you going to play it?

The other day as I was flipping through the Xbox marketplace I discovered a free docuseries called Power On: The Story of Xbox. I decided to watch the first couple minutes and have since binged the whole 6 part show. Power On is a Microsoft created retrospective that goes back to the early roots of the original Xbox all the way to the launch of the Xbox Series X and highlights the ups and downs. From the early craze of Halo to the Red Ring of Death it's all here in it's docu-glory. Often company created documentaries don't showcase the whole story this seems to be a pretty even handed look at the successes and failures of the Xbox platform including the very rocky launch of the Xbox One.

You can watch Power On for free on YouTube, Roku TV, Amazon, Microsoft, IMDBTV and Redbox streaming right now.


Before I picked up the XBox Series X I heard from nearly everyone that's owned an XBox that Forza Horizon 4 is the game to get. During Black Friday Forza Horizon 4 was on sale including all the DLC for a handful of bucks and I pressed the gas on that purchase and haven't let up on the pedal since.

I've played a lot of driving games and unless we are talking about Mario Kart, I'm not typically a fan of any. All told the art of racing around a track isn't that much fun to me unless we can throw banana peels and red shells at each other. I drive a lot more than I'd like in real life so one way to make that fun is to make is unlike any driving experience I have and Mario Kart delivers on that.

I have no experience with any prior Forza Horizon games but the series feels like they've mashed up the joyful exploration of Skyrim with a racing game you can ignore when you want. I first downloaded the demo for Forza Horizon 4 and it may be one of the best demos I've ever played. It starts you out driving through some epic parts of Forza as the game takes you through the different seasons. From there you can drive around the open world but you can't save anything and if you want to replay the demo you need to start driving through all of the seasons again. All told this does mean you can replay the demo but if you want to save your progress, you need to buy the game. That said, when I picked up the actual game I played Forza the way I start out a Skyrim or Fallout game... I just drove around for a long time to just explore.

So Much To See, So Little Time

Have a few minutes and you want to play a game but don't want to do anything that requires a ton of focus? Drive over a purple flower field in Forza or do doughnuts in someones lawn. Want to see something epic? Drive to the top of a rock quarry and launch off the top going 120 miles an hour straight to the bottom. Want to finally take your hand at a proper race? Go for it. The best part of Forza Horizon 4 is the game let's you do what you want and I never really felt like it was trying to get me to do the racing game part. But after a few months of doing nothing particular in the game but drive around I decided to progress through the game because I wanted to unlock more cars than the first one. To be able to finally unlock the game and all the DLC and such I had to unlock autumn and after a handful of other races and then all at once, the entire game and it's options opened up.

Forza Is a Game You Can Play With Kids

I love shooty shoot games but I can't play any of those games with my five year old. Forza Horizon 4 is one of those incredible games that I can not only play with him around but he can actually play too. He loves driving around and crashing into things and we just opened up some Lego DLC which he loves to drive around in. It's nice having a game he can play and doesn't get frustrated playing and frankly, I think a lot of games would do well to implement more sandbox modes that just enable you to play without any timers or twitch controls needed. At least, if more games did that my five year old would be happy.

The Forza Series Is An XBox Must Play

If you have an XBox it would be a crime to not at least try the Forza Horizon 4 demo. Microsoft is putting it's raft of games on PC and if you didn't have an XBox you could still pickup Forza Horizon 4 on PC through Steam. In a game landscape with a ton of shooters it's nice to get a game that doesn't have any homicidal agenda and just wants you to have fun driving and crashing cars.

The Awesome Games Done Quick 2022 charity speedrun event is going strong right now and you should absolutely watch it! While you are there consider a donation to The Prevent Cancer Foundation! So far today there have been some incredible runs of Mega Man 2, Deathloop, Donkey Kong Country 2 & Deaths Door and up next an Oracle of Seasons Speedrun!


Peep the schedule for upcoming runs to watch: https://gamesdonequick.com/schedule

Halo Infinite released last month but the Multiplayer has been available in beta for quite a while now and even though I don't play a lot of brand new games, since Infinite multiplayer is free I decided to give it a try. If I had to sum of my thoughts on the Halo Infinite multiplayer in three words I guess I'd say "embarrassment of riches." Basically we get one of the best Halo multiplayer experiences and it costs nothing at all. Does it have a battle pass progression system where after buying it and playing the game a lot you unlock cosmetic rewards much like Fotnite? Yep. Do you need to do any of that? Nope, not at all. The best part is that even if you're not great you can play with normal humans on your team and bots on the opposing team. Oh yeah, Halo multiplayer now includes bots if you want that to be a thing and frankly it's a nice addition because I'm not really any good but when you are playing against easy bots it does feel a bit more fun to kill something from time to time.

Whereas you can't do this online right now you can head into my local Target and get an XBox Series S for $300. From there you can plug this in to your TV sign up for a free xbox account and download and play Halo Infinite Multiplayer, Fortnite, Rocket League and a metric shit ton of free games for just the price of the console itself. Same if you owned a PC though the cost of getting started is a bit more than $300 if you wanted to play all those games. Which is why I think gaming right now is an embarrassment of riches because there are so many great experiences and all you need to have is some hardware to play them on.

If you have some hardware such as an XBox One or greater or a PC(It's on Steam even!) with any power at all you can play Halo Infinite right now. It's a fair download but even if you only play a handful of matches I think it's worth the download cap hit.

For Christmas this year I got myself the Legend of Zelda Game & Watch. The Zelda Game & Watch features The Legend of Zelda, The Adventure of Link and Link's Awakening alongside a classic watch game and a few other fun modes. The big draw of the Zelda Game & Watch to me was the fact that it included the original Gameboy version of Link's Awakening. I'd have preferred the DX color version, but the original Gameboy version is classic and well worth replaying. I've been playing Link's Awakening on the Game & Watch and just acquired the third instrument. The small system feels good in my hands and the controls feel quite natural. Since I'm playing the Gameboy game everything feels good in the hand as I have a lot of memory playing this on the classic Gameboy. All told the classic Gameboy was much bigger in the hand but the screen wasn't too big so it feels pretty natural. My only minor complaint is that due to the screen size the original Link's Awakening is stretched to fit the screen by default. Nintendo has a setting to have the game play in the proper orientation but it's an odd default selection.

I plan on completing Link's Awakening on the Game & Watch and heading back to The Legend of Zelda and completing it again too. I've never completed The Adventures of Link and wonder if I'll finally do it on the Game & Watch?

Compared to the Mario Game & Watch this is an incredible value and with the rising prices of retro games even more so. If you had a thought to want to come back and play these games and don't have a great way to do it do yourself a favor and get the Zelda Game & Watch. Afterward check out the three article series Nintendo created on all the secrets they've stuffed the Zelda Game & Watch with. Some of these were included in the original games and some are completely new to the Watch system.

Regional Game Differences: https://www.nintendo.com/whatsnew/detail/2021/game-and-watch-the-legend-of-zelda-secret-series-part-1/

Saving the World in 12 Hours? Mysteries of the Playable Clock: https://www.nintendo.com/whatsnew/detail/2021/game-and-watch-the-legend-of-zelda-secret-series-part-2/

Secret Button Commands: https://www.nintendo.com/whatsnew/detail/2021/game-and-watch-the-legend-of-zelda-secret-series-part-3/

Wanted to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! Wherever this years end finds you I hope 2022 treats you well! As a fun bonus I've included a best of games list from Digital Foundry's own John Linneman to kick off a discussion of games you played this year that top your list. Also if there are any games coming out next year you are interested in?