Smash Bros Character Checklist: The Wario Series

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Wario is quite the character, isn’t he? He has a surprisingly large amount of personality and character development. He’s greedy, he’s gross, he’s nasty, he’s bizarre, he’s a hero, he’s a villain…  I can’t think of a Mario series character that has as much put into them as Wario!

Wario just seems like a character that Nintendo developers can have fun with, and do whatever they want with him. And that goes for his games too: the Wario Land and Warioware series’ are filled with strangely fantastic scenarios and characters. And since there are so many characters, that makes it the perfect game franchise to pick from for a Super Smash Bros roster!

Personally, I was always more of a fan of Wario Land than of Warioware. Wario Land 4 was one of the first Game Boy Advanced games I ever owned, and it still makes me a bit sad that the series has gone quiet since the release of Wario Land: Shake It in 2008. I’d love for the game series to return, and I think including a character from the games in Smash Bros would be the perfect opportunity to renew interest in the Wario Land series.

But what character would I pick? Well, the best choice would be the recurring villain Captain Syrup!

CharacterChecklistCaptainSyrup

Coming up with a moveset for Captain Syrup may seem tricky. She doesn’t do a lot of fighting herself in the Wario Land games, after all. But what if that could tie into her gimmick as a character? She could summon in members of her pirate crew, the Black Sugar Gang, or even just use their tools and weapons for her own.

She could use the spears of a Pirate Goom, the mace of Guragura, the knives of Gaugau,  the harpoons of Goboten, and the boomerangs of DANGEROUS DUCK! Her Up-B special could summon in Bobo to help her fly and recover. And of course she could also use standard pirate gimmicks, like a cutlass and explosives, to fight as well. Having a large amount of tricks and tools at her disposal would be more than fitting for a pirate captain!

Her Final Smash is her most obvious moveset choice: summoning in the Genie from the final boss fight of the first Wario Land. It would be the perfect throwback for fans of the classic Wario games, myself included.

Now, to be fair, I realize including Captain Syrup as a playable character is a long shot. She isn’t exactly one of the classic Nintendo villains, and her relevance to the Wario series is pretty slim now-a-days. Like I said, there hasn’t been a Wario Land game since 2008. So I feel like Captain Syrup’s inclusion will have to remain a dream of mine for now… though it would be awesome to have a playable pirate character in Smash!

A character from the Warioware series is a much more likely inclusion. But what character to choose? Mona and Ashley are really popular choices, and Kat and Ana would make an awesome duo-character. But I don’t think I would go for any of them as my personal pick.

My choice for a Warioware character is the disco-dancing dude, Jimmy T.!

CharacterChecklistJimmyt

Just think about it: a Smash Bros character whose entire moveset is based around dancing! How cool would that be?! It may seem like a stretch to some, I know. But to me, the best part of any Smash Bros game is taking a character you wouldn’t expect to be in a fighting game, and then putting them in a fighting game! Captain Falcon, Mr. Game & Watch, R.O.B., Wii Fit Trainer… the list of unexpected entrants has only grown over the years. And Jimmy T. would fit right in with them!

A character who dances to fight would open up a lot of creative freedom when building a moveset for them. Not to mention Jimmy has shown off a fondness for aerobics and skiing. He’s clearly  fit enough to take place in a physical fight, but admittedly, giving the character some projectile options might be a bit tricky.

His Final Smash would be the best part, though: trapping the competition with the power of music, and forcing them all to dance with him! It could end up working similarly to Peach’s Final Smash, forcing a stage-wide dance off to break out. Or it could trigger a rhythm mini game (or should I say Micro Game?) similar to Donkey Kong’s bongos. Either way, it would be both awesome and hilarious to see, and a perfect fit for the goofyness the Wario series is known for.

And one last note for Jimmy T. is that he should definitely have a costume referencing Jimmy P.! I mean, it’s obvious, isn’t it?

Now, that should wrap up the Wario series… but we’re forgetting about someone, aren’t we? One character that absolutely needs to be in Smash, and has to be discussed. Maybe it’s Dr. Crygor? Or are you expecting me to mention Orbulon? Perhaps 9-Volt or 18-Volt? WELL

CharacterChecklistWaluigi

As I mention at the end of my first entry of the Smash Bros Character Checklist, Waluigi could count as a Smash participant for the Wario franchise. But at the same time, he would be a good fit for the main Mario series as well. The character falls into a strange gray-area of who he could represent in the Smash series. Because even though he’s always paired with Wario in the Mario series, Waluigi has NEVER actually appeared in a Wario game.

But I feel like having him partnered with Wario as usual would be the best course of action. Either way though, Waluigi NEEDS to be in Smash! And I know I’m not the only one who feels the same way. The character has been on my wishlist for years now, and I think it’s finally time Walugi gets his chance to fight, and be promoted from Assist Trophy status.

Waluigi’s lanky build wouldn’t give him a ton of power, but I imagine his long limbs would give him wildly superior melee range, speedy running, and fantastic jumping abilities. Not to mention the character has just as much athletic prowess as any other Mario series character, sporting talents in Tennis, Golf, Baseball, and Soccer, just to name a few examples. In fact, could an arsenal of tools and sports equipment fit Waluigi’s playstyle?

Waluigi comes across as a man who isn’t afraid of pulling off a dirty trick or two. He already runs around with his Tennis racket when he’s summoned in as an Assist Trophy, so having an arsenal of bats, golf clubs, and soccer balls to get some surprise hits in wouldn’t be too unusual. Waluigi also has a fondness for plants, being paired with Piranha Plants and able to use thorny vines to protect himself. And did I mention he throws eggplants at people?

Plus, he can toss bombs, form mini tornadoes around himself, swim through the air, and he’s the main antagonist of Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix! Waluigi is a character of so many bizarre talents that not having him as an equally bizarre Smash Bros fighter should be considered a crime. They could even take the opportunity to give Waluigi a unique Biker outfit in Smash so he matches Wario. WE NEED WALUIGI!

Anyway, I think that wraps things up for now. I didn’t expect to have much to say about the Wario series characters when I started this series, but I ended up picking three characters for it! It goes to show that you can find the most interesting Smash character picks in unexpected places.

But I’ve rambled on a bit long, I think. Thank you for reading! Be sure to let me know what you think of my character picks. Until next time, Sparky is signing off for now!

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Smash Bros Character Checklist: The Yoshi Series

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If you were to ask me who my favorite video game character was, it would be Yoshi. Without a doubt in my mind, the green dinosaur who doubles as transportation for small babies and large plumbers would be my number one choice. Ever since the days Yoshi’s Story and picking him as my character in every Mario game imaginable, he has been my favorite.

So naturally, Yoshi has been my main fighter in almost every Smash Bros game (I say “almost” because the original Smash 64 introduced me to Kirby, and I was obsessed with playing as him back then). Sure, I love playing as the likes of Mega Man and Lucas, with the occasional play session with Falco and Dark Pit. But Yoshi is always my first choice, and probably my best character as a result.

Though because of this, it’s always disappointed me that Yoshi has been the only representative for his game series for FIVE Smash Bros games. But I guess that’s for a good reason: who else do you need to represent Yoshi besides Yoshi? Who else COULD you get to represent his side-series of platformers?

My thoughts have occasionally wandered over to the Baby Mario Brothers. Teaming up Baby Mario and Baby Luigi as an Ice Climbers-like duo character is an idea I’ve heard tossed around from time to time. And admittedly, it COULD work. The Baby brothers have shown in the past that they can put up a fight in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time. But something about putting a couple babies in a fight against adults and fighters several times their size feels… wrong.

So if not the babies, then who? The Yoshi series doesn’t exactly have a large cast of characters to pick from. Well, how about the series’ main villain? No, not Baby Bowser! We already have a tiny Bowser as a fighter. I mean the REAL main villain!

I’m talking about the Koopa Troop’s number one sorcerer, Kamek!

CharacterChecklistKamek

Yeah, I know, a few of you might be scratching your heads at this pick. Kamek? A Nintendo All-Star deserving of a spot in the Smash Bros roster? Well, he IS the primary antagonist in the Yoshi’s Island series, and a prominent secondary antagonist in several other Super Mario games. He is one of the Nintendo bad guys, and I think he would fit in well alongside the other Smash fighters.

Plus, my desire for Kamek as a playable character stems from another source. In a sea of Smash characters who fight with their fists, swords, and lots of tools and tech, there’s a surprising lack of fighters who use some sort of super natural power as their primary form of combat (not including Pokemon, of course). Sure, most characters have some form of super power in one or two of their moves. But Smash Bros needs a fighter who’s all about using MAGIC! And Kamek would be a perfect fit for that spot.

Magikoopas are capable of using a huge variety of magic spells, after all. They can teleport, shoot fire, create clones of themselves, heal wounds… all sorts of neat things you could draw from for a Smash Bros moveset! And Kamek has proven himself to be stronger than the average Magikoopa on numerous occasions. He can use his magic to power up even basic Mario and Yoshi enemies into giant bosses, and he even has a broom he can fly around on! Isn’t that cool?

I even came up with a neat property for a Neutral-B Special move for him. The standard Magikoopa magic spell (you know, the one that looks like a bunch of shapes?) not only can deal damage to an enemy, but is capable of transforming objects into enemies. So what if it could do the same thing to items and projectiles in Smash Bros? You could transform a bomb, missile, or banana peel flying at you into a Goomba or Koopa that would then get in your opponent’s way! It would make for in interesting way to fend off enemy attacks, other than the standard Down-B Reflector or Counter move.

And his Final Smash would be best part of all: sending his opponents into another arena where they are promptly destroyed by a giant Baby Bowser. It would be amazing and glorious!

Yeah, I know Kamek making a playable appearance in Smash Bros is a long shot. He has a LOT of other more likely character picks to contend with. But maybe the good folks developing Smash Bros for Switch have decided to give the Yoshi series and Magic-wielding characters a bigger part in the next game. Who knows, it could happen!

So what do you think of my pick? Do you think Kamek would make an interesting fighter, or should he remain a side-villain? And if not Kamek, who would make a good Yoshi series representative? I’d love to hear what you want to see in the next Smash!

That’s all for the Smash Bros Character Checklist for the time being, though. I’ll see you in the next post! Sparky is signing off for now.

Smash Bros Character Checklist: The Donkey Kong Series

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You could say that Nintendo owes a lot of their success to a gorilla. If not for the original Donkey Kong arcade game in 1981, the world today might not have the Super Mario series. And if there were no Mario, Nintendo might not be the household name that it is.

Of course Donkey Kong himself has had plenty of his own adventures without the plumber’s help. Even though he’s a regular cast member of Mario spin-off titles such as Mario Kart and Mario Party, DK has a well recognized game series of his own. They take the form of several arcade and Game & Watch outings in the 1980s, and the beloved Donkey Kong Country series that began in the 1990s.

Since he has his place at the origins of Nintendo’s video game empire, it’s no surprise Donkey Kong was one of the characters picked to be in the original Super Smash Bros. He and his little buddy Diddy are now mainstays of the series. But surprisingly, they’re the sole representatives of the Donkey Kong games, even though the series has a rich supply of characters to choose from.

Dixie Kong was intended to be a playable character in Super Smash Bros Brawl, and was meant to be teamed up with Diddy Kong like in her game of origin. However, that idea didn’t pan out, and Dixie has remained on the sidelines to this day. That being said, there’s always hope for her to make an official appearance as a playable character in Smash, and she has plenty of support behind her. However, my choice for a playable Donkey Kong character is someone a bit more… villainous!

Who’s the meanest, greenest crocodile you’ve ever had to face in a series of brutal Super Nintendo games? Why, King K. Rool, of course!

CharacterChecklistKRool

The cry for the King of Kremlings to be playable in Super Smash Bros is a strong one. I know I’m not the only one who would love to see him make an appearance on the roster. We got at least a LITTLE close when he was turned into a wearable costume for the Mii Brawler character. But as the main antagonist of the Donkey Kong series, K. Rool absolutely deserves a full playable spot in the next Smash Bros.

While heavy-weight, brutally powerful characters sporting fangs and claws are no stranger to the Smash Bros roster, K. Rool has a lot of points of inspiration for his moveset that could set him apart from the likes of Bowser and Charizard. He’s used plenty of projectile weapons before (including his own crown, which behaves like a boomerang for whatever reason), giving him some potential long-range options that other big characters lack.

King K. Rool has fondness for different personas as well. In several of the games he’s made an appearance in, he’s taken on different names and likenesses, and he changes the way he fights accordingly. In Donkey Kong Country 2, he took up the guise of Kaptain K. Rool, wielding a giant blunderbuss. In Donkey Kong Country 3, he became Baron K. Roolenstein, sporting a helicopter pack for easy maneuverability. And in Donkey Kong 64, he was heavyweight-champ King Krusha K. Rool, emphasizing his brute strength. Any one of these disguises can be used as inspiration for K. Rool’s moveset (as well as inspiration for alternate costumes, perhaps?).

Throughout all of his games, King K. Rool has shown himself of strong, durable, agile, smart, and wildly creative, leading to all kinds of potential for him in a Super Smash Bros games. They only issue with including him is that in more recent games like Donkey Kong Country Returns and Tropical Freeze, he’s been set aside for other villains to take his place. It’s been about 10 years since he’s had a starring roll in a Nintendo game, the most recent of which is Mario Super Sluggers. But even though he’s not as prominent of a Nintendo villain as he once was, I’d say it’s high time he made a comeback! Here’s hoping he finally shows up again in the next Smash!

So what do you think of my pick? Do you think K. Rool deserves a shot at Smash glory, or are other Donkey Kong characters more worthy of the spot? Let me know what you think!

But for now, I’d say that’s all for me. Thanks a lot for reading, and be sure to be on the lookout for the next entry in my Smash Bros Character Checklist! This is is Sparky, signing off!

Smash Bros Character Checklist: The Mario Series

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I. Freaking. Love. Super Smash Bros. Ever since I first saw that glorious commercial for the original game on Nintendo 64, I knew I was in for something amazing. To this day, Super Smash Bros remains my favorite video game series, and each game just keeps getting better.

To many gamer’s surprise, Nintendo announced the return of the series on the Nintendo Switch almost out of nowhere the other day. Everyone knew it was going to happen at some point, but I don’t think anyone expected an announcement for a Smash Bros game to happen before E3. The trailer was just a small teaser, and didn’t tell us much, aside from the addition of the Splatoon Inklings to the character roster. But regardless, it was enough to get the hype train rolling once more, and get everyone speculating about who’s going to make the cut in Nintendo’s next huge crossover fighting game.

Topping the character roster from Super Smash Bros for 3DS and Super Smash Bros for Wii U will be no easy task. The duo of games, collectively known as Smash 4, had a huge 58 character roster, with 8 additional fighters being represented as alternate costumes for existing characters. Smash Bros for Switch promises to be gigantic, and everyone has their own thoughts on who’s going to be joining the fray. And of course, that includes me.

So I’m starting off what I’m calling the Smash Bros Character Checklist, where I talk about characters I would like to see join the battle! I’m going to be going through the existing represented Nintendo games, series by series, and discussing who I think from that series would make a good addition to the cast. These aren’t going to be detailed analyses of what the character’s complete move-sets would be or anything; just my general thoughts on what the characters would play like, and why I think they should be included in the game. And starting us off, of course, is the Mario series.

Now, the main series Mario titles already have plenty of representation in the Smash Bros titles. There’s Mario and his Doctor counterpart, his brother Luigi, the lovely Princess Peach, and Mario Galaxy’s Rosalina. We also can’t forget the big baddie Bowser and his son, Bowser Jr. If you count the fact that the seven Koopalings also serve as Bowser Jr’s alternate costumes, that brings the total Mario characters up to fourteen. I think most agree that the Mario series has plenty of representation at this point, so adding more characters almost seems a bit silly.

But… there’s someone missing, isn’t there? A main series Mario character, often playable in games, that isn’t among the other main characters? Why, it’s Toad of course! It seems strange to have every other Mario character under the sun, and not include one of the longest running characters in the series as a Smash fighter. Though there is the small problem that Toad serves as one of Princess Peach’s special moves. So why not make the playable Toad a different Toad? Make it… Captain Toad!

CharacterChecklistCaptainToad

Starting off as a minor supporting roll in Super Mario Galaxy, Captain Toad and the Toad Brigade grew into characters of their own. The sometimes cowardly treasure hunter is now a mainstay of the series, with his own title game that’s soon going to be re-released on the Nintendo Switch. He would be a perfect fit to represent his Toad brethren in a new Smash Bros!

Like other playable Toads before him, I envision Captain Toad as a quick character with a good deal of strength behind his attacks. Though he would most likely sport the poor jumping ability of other Toads as well. Considering he doesn’t have a jump button at all in his game, maybe he should invest in a smaller backpack for his Smash Bros debut?

He would be a lot like Little Mac in a way. But in order to differentiate him from the small-stature boxer, Captain Toad would sport an arsenal of tools from his treasure hunting expeditions. He would have his pickaxe handy for Smash Attacks, and he could even borrow Princess Peach’s vegetable-picking attack for his Down-B Special (perhaps he could occasionally unearth heavy treasures, instead of vegetables, in order to deal extra damage?). The Captain could even make use of his headlamp for a Neutral-B Special, charging the light up to temporarily blind his opponents.

His alternate costumes would be easy to come up with: give him colors representing the other members of the Toad Brigade! He could even have an alternate costume that turns him into Toadette, similar to the gender-swapped costumes of Robin, Corrin, and Wii Fit Trainer. That way you could have another character added to the game, without taking up a spot in the character roster. Plus it would add to the number of female characters in the game as a whole.

Overall, I think Captain Toad would be the perfect choice to fill in what feels like a large hole in the cast of Mario characters represented in Super Smash Bros. He can be a modern AND classic Nintendo character rolled into one! Here’s hoping the development team feels the same way as I do. I’d love to see him make it in!

So what does everyone else think of my choice? Would Captain Toad make a good Mario representative, or do you have another character in mind? I hear that Paper Mario is a popular choice, and there’s always characters like Princess Daisy and Waluigi (though would Waluigi count as a Wario series character? That’s something to think about…). Either way, tell me what you think! I’d love to hear fellow Smash-Fan’s thoughts on the matter!

I’m planning to continue the Smash Bros Character Checklist in the future, so be sure to look out for posts on other characters and franchises I think would be a perfect fit for Super Smash Bros!  Until then, keep on playing! Sparky is signing off for now.

A Call to Arms (Arms First Impressions)

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In the seemingly never ending wait for new content on the Nintendo Switch, there is shining light in the distance, just a couple weeks away: Arms is a Nintendo-made unique spin on the fighting-game genre. Every character has stretchy arms (or some equivalent) and they take each other on in the most intense style of boxing and tests of skill imaginable. And it comes complete with bombs, fire, ice, electricity, robot suits, mummies, laser-shooting-dragon-head attachments, and unidentifiable piles of goo with fists.

Over the past couple weekends, Nintendo has been running a special demo version of the game called the Arms Global Testpunch. Nintendo Switch users from all over were able to get a taste of the game, playing online against other players experiencing the game for the first time, myself included. So, I felt like it would be fun to voice my opinion on the whole thing! There was only so much players were allowed to experience, but the online sessions I did manage to jump in on were a lot of fun.

Let’s get started on this little analysis, shall we? I’ll divide up different subjects about the game, and lists the pros and cons I feel were presented in the demo.

  • Graphics and Music: 
    • Pro: This game looks really, really good. It’s nice and colorful, it runs smoothly, and the characters and stages all look unique and are a joy to see in motion. The music is equally great, and the main theme can stick in your head pretty easily (as a good main theme to a game should).
    • Con:  I can’t think of any major negative aspects I would think are important enough to bring up. Some of the character designs didn’t seem quite as good as others (I don’t really care much for Ribbon Girl or Helix design-wise), but that’s really a non-issue.
  • Gameplay and Control
    • Pro: Your basic Arms match is a one-on-one fight, you and an opponent in the ring together. The standard fighting game rules apply: knock your opponent’s health down to zero, and you win! And with unique character abilities and a bunch of different styles of weapons (called Arms, of course) you can attach to you stretchy limbs, finding the combination of fighter and tools that suits you best is an experience of its own. There’s also two-vs-two gameplay where you team up with a partner, and a boss battle mode of sorts where three players join forces to take down a baddie called Headlok (who is literally a giant metal head that locks himself onto another fighters body. Get it? Headlok?). But there’s also a target punching mode, volleyball, and a basketball game where you use your opponent as the ball. It’s a good variety, to say the least!
    • Pro: The game has multiple control modes, and the one mainly featured in the demo is what’s called the “Thumbs Up Grip” mode. You play holding each half of the Joycon controller in your two hands, and you play the game mostly through motion control. You dodge, block, and punch all through the movements of your hands, and it’s AWESOME. This is motion control done right, making you feel like a part of the game! Of course, if you’re looking for something more standard, there are normal controller options too. But I feel like the true way to play is by swing your own fists! It makes for a good workout that way, too!
    • Con: I’d say the main problem with the controls is that maybe the game can be a little TOO sensitive in Thumbs Up mode at times. Like I mentioned, your movement, defending, and fighting are all done through the motion control. In the heat of a fight, depending on how you move your hands or the direction you hold the controllers in, you could end up blocking or throwing out a grab when you didn’t mean to, and it could cost you the game. You have to pay veeeeery close attention to what your hands are doing. And when your adrenaline gets pumping in the middle of a fight, that’s not the easiest thing in the world. Perhaps a normal control style can be more suitable for this game? I suppose it depends on the player.
  • Online Play
    • Pro: A big issue with Nintendo games in the past is the sometimes shoddy online play. Even the recently released Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is reportedly having issues. That being said, this doesn’t seem to be the case with Arms. The demo, after all, was online play only. And every motion of the controller, every button press, and every impact of my punches felt spot-on with no delay (not counting the occasional lagging connection with an opponent). Of course, this could change once the game is released and more people are playing online more regularly, but as it stands, Arms might be the best online experience for a Nintendo game to date.
    • Con: At least, it is the best when the game doesn’t randomly drop you. I had this strange issue where every 20 minutes or so, I would be given an error code and kicked out of the online lobby, even when I was in the middle of a fight. It could have been an issue with my internet, or maybe just an issue with the demo itself. And even when I did get kicked, I was able to jump right back online almost immediately with no problem. So I’m not sure what was up with that. I’d be interested to hear if other people experienced the same issue. Hopefully it doesn’t persist when the full game launches.

And that about covers my opinion on Arms so far! Overall, aside from the occasional oddity, it made a really good impression. Even if you didn’t manage to catch the demo periods, I would highly recommend picking up the full game when it launches on June 16th! I know I am.

Thank you for reading my little blurb on what could be Nintendo’s next smash-hit game. I would be well deserved for this to become a best seller for the system! Until next time, Sparky is signing off!

(I might even have a main fighter already! Mechanica is my jam!)

A Reason for Re-Releases

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Anyone who owns a Nintendo Switch can tell you that the wait for new game content on their brand new gaming console has been a little… slow. True, it’s only been about two months since the system launched in early March, but that two months has felt like an eternity for the next big system release to follow up The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

I myself only own one other physical Switch game right now: I bought Skylanders: Imaginators to fill in the time between game releases, and give myself a reason to use the assorted Skylanders figures I had sitting around doing nothing. On the digital front, I also have gotten Wonder Boy: The Dragons Trap, a remake of possibly one of the best 8-Bit games I’ve ever played (and a Sega Master System game, of all things! Weird, right?). But overall, the wait for game releases has felt so long, I was suddenly caught off guard by the fact that two game launches I’ve been waiting for suddenly hit me at almost the same time.

The puzzle game combination Puyo Puyo Tetris and the next game in Nintendo’s biggest racing series, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, were releasing within days of each other at the end of April. So as not to spend TOO much money at once, I decided to settle on buying only one of these games for the time being (alongside getting an additional controller for multiplayer action awesomeness). Though the biggest question was “Which one do I pick?”

Immediately my thoughts drifted to Mario Kart as the prime contender for my money. Ever since the time of the Nintendo 64, Mario Kart has been a big favorite of mine, and I get the game on every system it comes out on. But while making plans as to when would be a good opportunity to grab the game, something occurred to me that I hadn’t thought of: I already own Mario Kart 8. I have it on the Wii U. In fact, I hadn’t even technically finished doing stuff in the game at that time. And the additional content the new Deluxe version added was arguably minimal, so I began to ask myself a few things.

Do I really need the re-release? And the game is so recent, does it really even need a re-release at all? What’s the purpose BEHIND a re-release?

Re-releases, remakes, new versions, ports, virtual consoles, HD collections… things like this have become commonplace in the world of gaming. But re-releasing a game in any form can come under harsh criticism as being a shameless money grabbing tactic, in place of just producing new and original content. Especially for Nintendo: the Big N has been doing things like that for ages now, it becoming a really popular practice of theirs in the era of the Game Boy Advanced. Not only was there an entire game series dedicated to re-releasing classic NES and Famicom games on the system, but several other NES and SNES games got ports and remakes for the handheld as well. So redoing and remixing some of their classic titles is clearly nothing new to Nintendo. But Mario Kart 8 came out as recently as May of 2014. It’s just barely under three years old! Do you really need to sell what amounts to being the same game two different times so close together?

Thinking about this got me wondering if I should buy the game at all. I got to thinking about the purpose of behind a re-release or a remake, aside from making money and milking its popularity. And I feel like I came up with a good one: having accessibility to a game.

Consider the above-mentioned GBA games. During that time, there was no digital Nintendo store you could buy and download a copy of Super Mario Bros from, and the NES and SNES were old and outdated. You couldn’t exactly walk into a Wal-Mart and find an NES on the store shelf along with the state-of-the-art Nintendo Gamecube. By making the Classic NES Series and games like Super Mario Advanced, Nintendo not only found a way to preserve and upgrade the classics that people loved, but it gave younger gamers a way to experience these games as well. They made them accessible to both long time fans and young people too!

I can personally relate to this kind of situation: I didn’t have many NES games growing up, and I never owned a Super Nintendo at all. Thanks to the Game Boy Advanced, I got to experience games like the original Legend of Zelda and Super Mario World for the first time ever! And they’ve been some of my favorites ever since.

Even though the game is newer, turning Mario Kart 8 into Mario Kart 8 Deluxe stems from a similar situation of having accessibility to a game. I mentioned in my last post that a lot of Wii U games were getting brought to different systems in one way or another. And there is a very good reason for that: if these games didn’t get some kind of port or remake, then probably next to no one would have ever played them. The Wii U did not sell well, it continues not to sell well, the system itself has basically been pulled off of store shelves to make way for the Switch, and as a result its library of games has gone relatively un-played and is un-accessible for most gamers. It’s a shame all around, but its the truth. So what’s the solution to the problem? Why, bring the games to other systems, of course!

Mario Kart 8 is a beautiful and wildly creative entry in the series. And now that it’s getting its new Deluxe version, I’m happy that more gamers will be able to experience it. And I’ll be more than glad to get it a second time, to experience the new content and old content in one awesome package. Heck, the mere fact that people own two or three versions of any given game can say a lot about its quality and how enjoyable it is as well!

So yes, in my opinion, remakes, re-releases, port and whatever HD Turbo Remix Deluxe Collection comes along will always have a reason for being made and sold, outside of a company just trying to make money. It’s all about accessibility, and giving everyone everywhere a chance to play it in some form!

If anyone out there reading this agrees with me, or has some other opinion on the matter, I’d love to hear what you have to say and talk about it a bit! Until then, Sparky is signing off for now!

(I’m thinking about getting some more Mario Kart practice in… I don’t want to be rusty for the new game!)

Nintendo Switch: Switching too Soon?

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It’s no secret: Nintendo’s probably the best video game company ever (says I, with my totally unbiased opinion). But it’s also no secret that as of late, they had fallen on some difficult times.

Nintendo had some massive success with the Wii, making a console with motion control that appealed to gamers and casual players alike, spanning all ages. Andit no doubt came as a surprise that their next endeavor, the Wii U, barely sold a tenth of what the Wii did over its regrettably short lifespan.

Now you can talk all day about why the Wii U failed, and continued to fail, since it launched in 2012. Personally, I love my Wii U. I still do. I’m still in the act of playing and buying games for it. But with a weak launch lineup of games and poor marketing (among other things), the system failed to convey what it was trying to accomplish, and it missed its mark completely. The audience that loved the Wii just wasn’t interested in getting a Wii U.

But now we fast forward to March of 2017, and the launch of Nintendo’s next baby, the Nintendo Switch. And they must be doing something right with this one, because it has already overtaken the Wii’s launch sales. And no doubt, it’s mostly do to the outstanding quality of their newest adventure, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Though if I’m being perfectly honest, that’s really the only reason I can see as to why.

Don’t get me wrong: the Switch is pretty great. It’s got a lot of promise, blending the market of handheld and console gaming, and sporting a lot of impressive technology. But the launch titles, aside from Zelda, are really no more impressive than the launch titles for Wii U. You know, the ones that failed to convince anyone to actually buy the darn thing when it came out.

And that’s not saying anything bad about the other games’s in the Switch’s launch line up. It would be wrong of me to say that they’re bad games, since I haven’t played them at all yet. I couldn’t have played most of them if I wanted too, anyway: whenever I check the electronics department at my place of work, they basically only have Zelda on the shelf for sale. It’s been that way since launch day. So it’s seems that, while they’re not necessarily bad games, not many people are interested in them compared to Zelda.

But back to my main point. Let’s compare the launch lineups of the Wii U and the Switch, shall we?

The Wii U launched in November of 2012 with these following games (in the United States):

  • New Super Mario Bros U
  • Nintendo Land
  • Zombi U
  • Assassins Creed III
  • Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition
  • Darksiders II
  • Just Dance 4
  • Skylanders Giants
  • Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed
  • Tekken Tag Tournament 2
  • And several others, ending up with a total of 32 Launch Titles for the system, available for purchase on disc right away.

Now, the Nintendo Switch lineup (again, for the US region):

  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • 1-2-Switch
  • Just Dance 2017
  • Super Bomberman R
  • Skylanders: Imaginators
  • And a handful of games available for digital download, leaving us with a total of only ten launch games.

That leaves me a little confused. Comparably, the Wii U had a much stronger line up of games available day one. True, most of them were ports of already existing games from the Playstation 3 and XBox 360, but the fact of the matter is that they… existed. And it wasn’t like they were unknown titles, either: there were a lot of big name games from big name developers. Logic dictates that the Wii U should have been the better selling system at launch. And yet, here we are in some sort of bizzaro world where less games equal more sales.

Do the Switch’s capabilities and a Zelda launch title mean that much to gamers? Apparently so. And Breath of the Wild isn’t even an exclusive Switch title: the game was in development for the Wii U for the longest time, and was going to be the system’s exclusive Zelda title. Or at least, that’s what we all thought. Now the Wii U has no Zelda game to truly call its own! Though ironically, you can play almost every other console-based Zelda game on the thing, and even a few handheld ones.

It doesn’t really seem like there’s a strong case for the Switch being a success, oddly enough. I’d go as far to say that, with all these crazy sales, people are buying into the Switch a little too soon. And this is coming from a guy who jumped on a chance to reserve the thing, so I could get it day one and star playing immediately, like I was a five year old jumping into a ball pit.

My personal advice to people looking to buy a Switch (if you can even find one right now, they seem to be sold out all over) is to wait a little a while. More specifically, wait until closer to summer, after the Electronic Entertainment Expo, also known as E3 (and Gamer Christmas), this June. At that point, the Switch will have more games released for it, like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Hopefully the new Nintendo title Arms will also be out, and we’ll be closer to the release of Splatoon 2.

Plus, waiting till Nintendo’s E3 presentation this year will be beneficial in the decision to buy the system as well. No doubt we’ll get even more game announcements, including some release dates for more anticipated titles. It just makes sense to give the Switch a little more time to produce more content, rather than throwing $300 at a system that barely has anything to do on it yet.

Overall, I think the Switch’s early success comes down to the marketing side of things; the Switch has had its debut, its features, and its strengths portrayed much more effectively than the Wii U did. I remember when the Wii U was announced, people couldn’t make heads or tails of it. Was it a new system? Was it an upgrade to the Wii? Was it a new controller? No one really knew. Heck, even I wasn’t totally sure what to make of it.

But overtime I found plenty of reasons love the Wii U, and I’m sure I will with the Switch as well. The new Zelda is so gigantic, it will keep any dedicated fan playing for weeks. But if a new Zelda isn’t quite convincing you to get the system right away, just listen to your instincts. Waiting till the summer seems like the best choice in this situation.

What’s your thoughts on the Switch and Zelda? Did you grab them right away, or are you not sure and you’re gonna wait it out before buying? Be sure to let me know!

Anyway, I guess that’s the end of my little rant. I’m gonna go back to saving Hyrule and waiting for Mario Kart to come out. Sparky is signing off for now!