Joined 01/23/2012

Partner to Francesca and father to Finley. I work for Bonobos as an Engineering Manager and built the video game site Cheerful Ghost.

2358 Posts

During the middle run of the Playstation 3 I bought Oblivion used from Gamestop and up to that point it was the first time i'd seriously played an Elder Scrolls game. It was a fun open world game but like the recent LGR review of it, I didn't love the Oblivion gate sections either. All that to say, it's a fun game and the LGR review is a good overall retrospective of it and it's DLC expansions including the oft chided Horse Armor.

Since Cheerful Ghost has been rolling along happily for 7 years, make sure to read Greg's review from 2014 if you want even more Oblivion stuff to read.


I remember the first time I saw the original Super Mario Brothers and that memory is burned forever in my brain. As Mario entered the pipe for World 1-2 and the color palette of the level changed to a darker tone, I was hooked. I've been playing Mario games since that point and quite enjoy that Nintendo is continuing to create games in the traditional 2D platformer style under the New Super Mario Bros. series. It started with New Super Mario Bros. on the DS and then then New Super Mario Bros. Wii and I finally picked up the 3DS version I'm playing now called New Super Mario Bros. 2.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 takes everything that worked about the previous games and continues to do that while focusing on coin collection. You have a running tally of coins you can collect that unlock things in-game making progression tied to coins and continually completing stages. The focus on coin collection means that I actually collect coins playing the game, something I've never really done much of in Mario games. This focus on coin collection and the game giving you many more opportunities to collect them means that as of World 3-5 I have over 106 lives! The New Super Mario Bros. series never felt too punishing but if you play the game like it intends and don't rush, it's not that difficult and YOU TO can have way too many lives in reserve!

So far New Super Mario Bros. 2 is Mario platforming at it's best but after playing the first two games in the series it doesn't feel as fresh as it should. I suppose the New Super Mario Bros. series should stick to basics but I feel more could be done here. Don't get me wrong, the platforming is some of the best in the series and getting the Raccoon suit back is incredible but so far.. it just feels like another fun game in the series. Which if that's what you are looking for, you're gonna find it in spades.

Today I found a three part video essay review and documentary piece by Lindsay Ellis and needed to share it. I found the Hobbit trilogy to be interesting yet had a rough time with aspects of it and Lindsay's review does a good job covering it and she does an epic deep dive on how it was made and it's complicated path to theaters. I don't want to spoil her review videos but I will say her series blurs the lines between review and documentary in a very unique way that elevates video reviews to new heights. For instance she travels to New Zealand to interview people involved in local cinema and were involved in the production of The Hobbit. One part I appreciate in Ellis's review is how she deals with duality and specifically how things can be both good and bad at the same time.

The first part of her series is embedded above and you can watch part two and three by hitting those links below.

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Studios (Part 2 / 2) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElPJr_tKkO4

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Warners (Part 3/2) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qi7t_g5QObs

Scene is a dimly lit arcade. Camera follows arcade cabinets and three hip 80's kids playing Captain Commando fanny packs and all.

Kid 1: "Man I love beat em ups wish you could play this at home!"

Kid 2: "Yeah but there is no way this would fit in your house.""


All Three Kids: "CAPTAIN COMMANDO!""

Captain Commando: "So you kids want to see a future where an arcade fits right under your TV."

Kids: "YEAH!"

Captain Commando: "Then come with me to 2018!"


So I don't want to spoil the rest of the video but it's basically the best video game ad I've ever seen selling one of the most impressive Capcom collections on Switch called the Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle. Basically it's a $20 digital Switch collection featuring seven arcade games such as Final Fight, Captain Commando, The King of Dragons, Warriors of Fate, Knights of the Round, Armored Warriors, and Battle Circuit. At $20 it's an insane value and so far it's only coming state side as a Switch downloadable. The games and price make total sense and honestly it seems like a steal at $20 but i'm wondering if it's gonna get a physical release because i'd love to own a cart copy of this. I've heard that it got one in Japan so here's hoping one comes in time for the holidays!

I encourage you to do two things. Firstly watch the whole video and then tell me what you think happens afterward. It's one of the coolest/darkest endings to an ad and I've been wrestling with how I think that's gonna actually turn out. Oh and while you're at it let me know if you plan on getting the Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle.

The Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle is out now on PS4, XBox One & the Switch and the Steam version coming soon!

Because Nintendo made a ton of money doing it and fans loved it Sony is releasing the Playstation Classic this December featuring 20 games such as Final Fantasy VII, TEKKEN 3, R4: Ridge Racer Type 4, Jumping Flash! and Wild Arms. Looks like the mini system is very similar to the NES and SNES classic in that features game saves, HDMI output and faithful recreations of the original controller. The difference here is the base unit + 20 games + controller is more expensive at $100 and that's not a bad value at all if these games are something you are looking to re-play. So far Sony has only released details of 5 games on the system with more information to come up till the final launch. One thing I like about this system is that the controller ports are USB and the base system looks like you can just plug it in where your NES and SNES Classic units already sit under your TV.


When I launched Cheerful Ghost in 2012 I built something that solved a problem I had. It wasn’t easy to collect all the games you owned in one digital list that you could share and write about. You could write on Facebook but none of that sticks around, Twitter isn’t a great place for conversations and no one cares if you start up yet another game blog. To me Cheerful Ghost set out to bring the discussion with my friends to one place where we could talk about the games we loved. Over time we started The Cheerful Ghost Roundtable that later became the Cheerful Ghost Radio Podcast, we published Starship Rubicon on Steam and this year launched the Cheerful Ghost Games BBS. Recently I got the itch to create something new and I’m excited to launch The Video Game Site Webring!

As I was reading The SNES Omnibus by Brett Weiss I noticed that he included a lot of great game quotes from sites i'd never heard of. As an independent game site creator I realized that a tool to help discover independent and lesser known sites would be useful to the larger game community. In a couple days I hacked out a prototype and started collecting a list of game sites. I decided to model the base website on old 90's Webrings and Stumbleupon. The final site is what we are launching today and you can find it at http://vgw.io.

The Video Game Site Webring makes discovering new video game sites fun by randomly taking you site in our list. Over time we plan on adding even more games to the list and if you know of any, let us know. The Video Game Site Webring aims at making the discovery of niche gaming sites easy and fun. We’re purposefully NOT including the top gaming sites like IGN and Kotaku because we feel these sites get enough attention. The goal of VGW is to give focus to smaller site and have these site link to VGW so we can all benefit from the increase in visibility. Part of the launch today is to give attention to these sites but over time I’ll reach out to these sites and see if they can all link to the VGW to help give everybody a boost. This is the core tenant of a webring and I hope, over time, VGW catches on. Also bringing back old stuff from the 90’s like Webrings is pretty cool too.

On last important thing but the Video Game Site Webring is that it is entirely open source and available for anyone to look at and modify on GitHub. I felt this was an important part of this project so everyone could see the source code and know how it worked and change it if they wanted. Cheerful Ghost has benefited from Open Source and it’s cool to create new projects that might be useful to others too.

I want to thank Travis for helping on this project and Brett Weiss for writing The SNES Omnibus which was a big inspiration for this project.


My review of the SNES Omnibus by Brett Weiss


View the VGW source code on GitHub


Nintendo just dropped one of the most impressive Nintendo Direct's today answering the question of what's coming next to the Switch. Animal Crossing, Luigi's Mansion 3, Yoshi's Crafted World, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles port, Final Fantasy XII remaster, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy IX, and X/X-2, Katamari Damacy Reroll, Civilization VI as well as New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe which is New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe making one of the stinger console lineups moving into 2019.

Nintendo also dropped more details on the first batch of games to come bundled with it's online service such as Baseball, Balloon Fight, Dr. Mario, Donkey Kong, Double Dragon, Excitebike, Ghosts 'N Goblins, Gradius, Ice Climber, Ice Hockey, The Legend of Zelda, Mario Bros., Pro Wrestling, River City Ransom, Soccer, Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Tecmo Bowl, Tennis & Yoshi's Cookie. Travis and Tim should be pretty stoked to be able to have Ice Climber so easily accessible anywhere they go, I know I will. Seriously though, it's a great list of games and looks to add some missing games from the NES Classic something that people can't seem to get enough of. Nintendo's Virtual Console might be dead but adding free games atop the online service is really awesome. I'm curious if these games will rotate out for new ones of if the library will just become massive over time making the Nintendo Online subscription even more compelling?

Infinity War was a huge event this year and many of it's iconic scenes will have a huge influence on action cinema for the next couple years. One such scene is the Avengers fighting Thanos and someone recreated those scenes in a 16-bit art style. Looking like it came right off the shelf at Toys R Us in the 90's this video first shows off the fight itself then side by side to what played in the Infinity War film.

Like many PC games, The Witness sits in my Steam backlog begging to be played. It's a beautiful exploration based puzzle game that was one of the top rated indie games of 2016. One downside to the documentary is that it contains a ton of game spoilers. That said, if spoilers don't matter to you or you've already played the game you really should watch this documentary. It's a great focus piece on the game and Jonathan Blow is a game designer I respect and is always fun to listen to.

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.
In 2015 Viz Media reissued The Legend of Zelda Link To the Past comic series that originally ran in Nintendo Power starting in January 1992 for 12 issues. A couple years ago I found it at a store for $20 and picked it up because I remember reading a few episodes in Nintendo Power magazines and quite enjoyed the story and art. I've never read it start to finish and recently sat down and read through the whole thing.

Nintendo Power Magazines were aimed at kids and these comics are too. It's fun reading them now but I never noticed how strange Link acts. I always thought the comics were fun adventure stories but the story is played mostly straight and Link brings all of the comic relief. His facial expressions, way of speaking and how he approaches his quest are very quirky and in re-reading the comics it plays as fun but sometimes breaks the tone of the story.

Shotaro Ishinomori was the artist & writer on the Link to the Past comics and he tells a simple story that follows the game while doing something a bit different. Each beat that the story borrows from the game isn't quite the same and while many bosses are lifted the game whole cloth some, like a giant spider are entirely unique. Shotaro created the original character Roam for the comic that is another knight from Hyrule that competes with Link to kill Ganon. The Link and Roam story receives an interesting end I won't spoil but I felt it didn't quite add much to the story.

The Link to the Past reissue is a highlight from the SNES era but after reading it I didn't feel it quite hit the incredible heights of the Link to the Past game. That's a hard mark to hit for arguably on the best games of all time but if you are a huge Link to the Past fan this is something you should read. The art is incredible and if you are a collector of video game books this will be a fun addition to your collection.

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