I didn’t grow up with the Genesis sonic games, or with platformers like Super Mario 64. Rather, my introduction to Sonic and 3D platforming was playing Sonic Adventure 2 at a friend’s house. I was immediately hooked, and ended up getting my own copy which I played obsessively. Having not touched the game for years and hearing all manner of opinions about it, I decided to revisit it and see if it still held any of the magic I once felt for it.
A certain masochistic streak runs through the gaming community, one which judges the quality of a game purely on how hard it is.
Which is not to say that challenge cannot be fun. I’m a huge fan of Etrian Odyssey IV, a game which attempts to brutally shut down the player at every turn. But what makes the game fun is not just that it’s hard, but that overcoming this challenge is a fun experience. The battles are fun, the dungeon exploration is fun, and you get a strong sense of fulfillment from overcoming the challenges in it.
(Because Pokemon Sun/Moon does not let players take screenshots, all screenshots for this article have been replaced with Children’s Drawings)
I went into Pokemon Sun having not played a Pokemon game since Soulsilver, and having not played a new one since Emerald. I’d found myself uninteresting in the franchise’s most recent offerings, and was left wondering if Nintendo had it in them to breathe new life into the series. Keeping that in mind, Pokemon Sun managed to not only work its way into being my #2 GOTY, but also ended up being my all-time favorite Pokemon game.
2016 was a not great year in a lot of ways, and I’m definitely hoping for better in 2017. But for all its faults, 2016 did provide me with a number of great and fun games. I didn’t play a ton this year, but all I played I loved. So without further ado, here’s my top 5 games of 2016:
#5: Final Fantasy Explorers
Video games are one of the few forms of media where the audience is able to have a meaningful impact on the appearance, personality, and overall feel of the main protagonist. The ability to create and redesign characters is one of the things that I always appreciate in games. Yet I still sometimes find myself wondering if something is perhaps lost when players are given this option.
When the Wii U was first announced, it was met not with reactions of joy and anticipation, but questions and concerns.
The reasons for this were numerous, but they largely focused around the Gamepad. What was it? What functionalities did it have? How did it feel to hold? Was it more for gimmicks, or for playing games on? These and more spread throughout the internet like wildfire, and satisfactory answers were not forthcoming. This made it a hard sell for many, and a hard console to make games for. Eventually, it seems, most devs just chose to abandon the gamepad, and later the console itself. At the end of its life, the Wii U had sold a measly 13 million consoles, coming in as the worst-selling Nintendo console of all time.
Enter the Nintendo Switch.
One of the very first things I ever heard about Uncharted, before I even knew what kind of game it was or what it involved, was people calling out main protagonist Nathan Drake on the number of people he killed. Some called him a monster jokingly, but others were far more serious in their criticisms. This idea, this reputation, has followed Nathan Drake through multiple entries in the series and inspired numerous derivative works riffing on the subject.
The question that I have, is whether this is truly unusual.