Sonic Articles RSS Feed | Sonic RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Sega Genesis Classics Heading to Nintendo Switch This Winter Wed, 19 Sep 2018 13:19:17 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Nintendo Switch owners are set to get a big dose of classic Sega gaming later this year! The Sega Genesis Classics game collection that made its way to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One earlier this year is making the jump to Nintendo this winter.

Sega Genesis Classics contains 50 games from Sega's classic console, packing classic titles spanning pretty much every genre that was relevant at the time.

RPGs like Shining Force and Phantasy Star 2, platformers such as Vectorman and Sonic 2, and oddball titles like ToeJam & Earl and Landstalker are present in this collection -- and that's only a fraction of the list.

You can check out the full list of games over on the official Sega Genesis Classics website, but retro fans on the Nintendo Switch have a little more to look forward to than just the games with this release.

Online multiplayer, achievements, local co-op, mirror modes, save states, and more will be available in this collection.

This is the largest all-in-one Sega game collection yet, but it is missing one thing: Sonic & Knuckles. That's a small price to pay for 50 other classic games to whittle the hours away on in one purchase.

Why People Are Upset Over Denuvo in Sonic Mania (Spoilers: It's Not Just Piracy) Thu, 31 Aug 2017 15:04:32 -0400 Ashley Shankle

DRM and its effectiveness are always a hotly-debated topic among the PC gaming community. The debate over whether it actually does what it's intended is one that started well before this generation and will continue into far into the future.

Sonic Mania's inclusion of the DRM Denuvo is the latest dramafest over DRM, but the community's outrage over it isn't solely based on what the peanut gallery says is the PC community (yet again) having a fit because they can't pirate the game. It's a little more complicated than that, and it has to do with:

SEGA's lack of transparency

This is a three-pronged issue overall, but this is the one prong that needs to be brought to light first.

The PC release of Sonic Mania saw a two-week delay, which was announced a mere four days before it was set to release on PC alongside its PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch counterparts. Many speculated it was because SEGA decided to add DRM to the PC version, but SEGA themselves did not make an announcement one way or the other.

In fact, SEGA did not reveal that Sonic Mania would contain any DRM at any point in time leading up to the PC release, and the Steam store page for the game didn't even mention Denuvo until several hours after release. The people who bought it certainly noticed, though -- many who had bought the game on the first day could not play it due to "connection issues".

SEGA ironed out the authentication issue and "enabled" offline play (enabling offline play for a singleplayer game is ridiculous in itself) yesterday, but the fact remains there was a clear lack of transparency on the inclusion of Denuvo. Sonic Mania is certainly SEGA's property -- but when requesting money for a product, the publisher should have the responsibility of keeping the consumer informed of changes.

You may be thinking to yourself that those who purchased the game could just get a refund and be done with it if Denuvo rustled their jimmies so much, but there's a catch to that, too.

Some pre-order holders could/can not get a refund

This is where things get sketchy. All of the above is generally enough to send a number of PC gamers into nuclear meltdown, but this specific part of the problem continues to be one of the biggest agitators to this whole fiasco.

To make up for the PC delay, SEGA granted Steam pre-order holders a free copy of Sonic 1 to be played in the Sega Mega Drive & Genesis Classics Collection. This was granted exactly two weeks before Sonic Mania released on Steam.

If you're familiar with Steam's refund system, you're probably aware of the two big criteria for refunding a game:

  1. You have to have played the game for less than two hours
  2. You have to have owned the game for less than two weeks

Those who pre-ordered Sonic Mania on Steam well in advance got their copy of Sonic 1 exactly two weeks before Mania was to be released. This normally wouldn't be an issue (I've certainly never heard of this being an issue), but it seems Steam is mistaking Sonic 1 and Sonic Mania when processing refunds, which is locking the aforementioned early pre-order holders from refunding the game.

This problem in particular is likely unintentional, but it's only fueled the hate-fire over the past few days, as many unhappy with the addition of Denuvo are unable to refund the game.

If you are one of these people and still would like a refund, it's worth noting that some Steam users have had success going into Steam support and choosing the "I have a question about this product" option and inputting your grievance in the optional box. It's not perfect, but it's worth a shot.

Denuvo's servers aren't going to last forever

Whether Denuvo is actually harmful or not is a topic still up for discussion. The most passed-around link on the anti-consumer nature of the controversial DRM is heavily out of date, and most of the complaints surrounding these days have to do with its limited lifespan, online checks, and unreliability. When was the last time a game with Denuvo didn't get cracked? It's been a while.

The biggest issue the community faces with Denuvo isn't one of the now, but of the future. No server lasts forever, and in time Denuvo will fade from relevance and take all the games its meant to "protect" with it.

Because Denuvo requires online checks to allow a user to launch and continue to run a game it is attached to, any games using Denuvo will no longer be able to run once the servers are taken down. This won't happen this year or next year, but it will happen. And a lot of games are going to fall with it.

There have certainly been examples of games that have had their restrictive DRM torn from them once it's known their DRM servers will be going down, but those examples are not indicative of the norm. Plenty of titles have fallen and been lost in the wind due to their DRM's eventual folding -- and the same will happen to Denuvo, just as it did with its predecessors.

The Sonic Mania DRM fiasco is a failing on SEGA's part, primarily due to their lack of transparency on what exactly buyers would be installing onto their computers. Is it really worth this, when the game is going to get cracked in two weeks time despite the implementation of Denuvo? Sonic Mania has become yet another example of DRM causing legitimate consumers more hassle than their non-paying counterparts.

It's a shame, since the game is undoubtedly one of the best Sonic games to come out in the past decade, if not longer.

Could another true Mega Man be around the corner? Tue, 20 Dec 2016 16:31:03 -0500 SarahKel

So, Mega Man has a new cartoon and a new version of the game for iOS. This just shows how much love there is for the game and that interest for it remains happily in the hearts of gamers. As such, people are talking about Mega Man again. Is there still potential for a new Mega Man game? Let’s find out.

With the original action platform game Mega Man, it followed the adventures of the robotic humanoid titular hero, trying to save the world from Dr. Wily and his destructive robots. Throughout the game, Mega man runs, jumps and shoots his way through stages to defeat a series of bosses called robot masters. Defeat all the bosses and then finally defeat Dr. Wily himself.

It has been over a year since the last Mega Man game was released, with the Legacy collection, which was simply a re-release of the original six games.  But it’s been six long years since an actual full game has been released with Mega Man X.  The game has been on virtually every console since 1987.

Megaman for iOS and Android

There has been a great experience of Mega Man historically being released for portable devices, such as the Game Boy.  So, it is no surprise that the series is going to re-launch the first six games for iOS and Android. It is very exciting. 

The games have been optimized for mobile devices with adjustments to game speed and controls to ensure the best game play possible. Instead of a brand new game, in the manner of Super Mario Run, developer Capcom has listened and realized many people want to play the original games on mobile devices. 

The games will be released from January 2017 for iOS and Android, at $1.99 per game.

Mighty Number 9

The game Mighty Number 9 was funded on Kickstarter and reached its goal. But the game was a disappointment, with the surface of a Mega Man successor, but frustratingly it was marred by missing visual effects, struggling frame rates and broken menu options. 

Overall, it was underwhelming and does not have the sense of what was fun about Mega Man and feels like a second rate impostor than a true successor.  However, it has still sparked hope that fans of the Mega Man game get a true successor to the original and has certainly raised people’s interest in the series.

As Mighty Number 9 has now been out for six months, surely it is time for the developers work out that people want a Mega Man game. And of course, they won’t want to miss out on a new game for the Nintendo Switch, will they?

Megaman: The New Cartoon

A new Mega Man cartoon is being released in 2017 and again proves that 2017 will be the year that momentum really swings in favour of the game.

The series will showcase Mega Man and his struggle to maintain his superhero duties on top of his everyday life. Familiar characters will be back, such as Rush, but also new characters too, one called Mega Mini. This means that there are new stories, new characters and new situations to add to the world of a new Mega Man video game.  

With new things to explore and also retaining the familiar, the game can maintain its original roots, but also provide something new and exciting to draw in new audiences. 

In essence, Mighty Number 9 was created because Capcom failed to release a new Mega Man game, but owing to its disappointment, the brand is beginning to fix what has gone wrong.

A new cartoon and the re-release of the original games for iOS prove that the developers want to pull the game back into people’s consciousness and please those who love the game so much.

Arguably, if the forward plans work as expected, a new Mega Man game cannot be too far in the future and we look forward to seeing this happen. What do you think of the possibility of a new Mega Man game?

The best Sonic vocal tracks to go fast to on his 25th anniversary Fri, 24 Jun 2016 03:30:01 -0400 Ashley Shankle


Here we are, the end of the vocal track list, and the song is exactly what you thought it would be!


Look, there really isn't any other song that better embodies Sonic the Hedgehog than City Escape. The level itself is a gaming icon almost entirely due to this song alone -- though that's not to say anything about the City Escape level. It's a real gem and totally set the stage for the rest of the game.


Some look back and say Sonic Adventure 2 was a bad game, and that's their opinion to have. But City Escape is a fantastic level with a fantastic headlining song.


It may be cheesy and it may be fairly short, but this song is a part of gaming history and it is an absolute must listen for today for Sonic's 25th anniversary. And if you're feeling especially nostalgic, give the level a whirl. It's just as fun as it's always been.


Tired of Crush 40 yet? I hope not, this is a Sonic vocal track list and enjoying them is mandatory.


Sonic Adventure was absolutely mind-blowing at the time it came out, and this song played in part during the menu idle cutscene and during the Perfect Chaos fight. Put two and two together, and you have Open Your Heart as one of the best-remembered songs in the entire series.


I could go on and on about how awesome this song is and the memories it evokes in Sonic fans, but there's no need. Open Your Heart is great for what it is. It's got that perfect mix of edgy, uplifting, and hype-inducing that makes it one of the best vocal tracks in the entire series.


Sonic Boom needs no introduction! But I'll give one anyway because some people are still confused which opening was released in which region(s).


The original North American version of Sonic CD got Sonic Boom, the gem shown above. It's softer than the other songs listed, but it's just perfect.


The European and Japanese releases had an entirely different soundtrack, and instead of Sonic Boom they got You Can Do Anything.



Which definitely fits right in with the other songs here, and it's just a hype-fest. Because, you know, "you can do anything!"


Both the NA and EU/JP soundtracks are good in their own ways, and modern re-releases give you the option to choose between them--though You Can Do Anything is instrumental-only in re-releases.


And aside from the above tracks is a Crush 40 version of Sonic Boom, which is as hype as you would expect.



Sonic CD's soundtrack is the gift that keeps on giving.


Let's not talk about this Sonic X's quality -- or lack thereof -- all you need to know is the theme song and make sure you listen to it on repeat today.


I don't think everyone would be saying "Gotta go fast!" in relation to Sonic if not for this atrocity of an anime, and that tells me it was all worth it.


If you knew what this was going to be just from looking at the thumbnail, congratulations! You may also have a Sonic problem!


Sonic R may not have been all that good of a game, but man it had some great music. Super Sonic Racing is definitely one of the better songs from the soundtrack, though I still have trouble deciding between it and Can You Feel the Sunshine. For good reason:



Some people may prefer the Sonic Generations version of Super Sonic Racing, but it lacks the pure '90s feel and pure optimism oozing out of the original track that has made it a staple to link whenever the series is brought up.


Nope, not City Escape. Yet.


Live and Learn was Sonic Adventure 2's main theme, but the full vocal version of the song isn't played in the game until the FinalHazard boss fight when Sonic and Shadow both go Super. That's not why it's awesome, though it certainly helps.


In all of its early-2000s edginess, Live and Learn is a song that can speak to you no matter how old you are and encourages you to learn from your mistakes and keep pushing forward, taking your own path. This is a theme you hear in a lot of vocal Sonic tracks but Live and Learn drives it home, and it's really hard not to rock out to it.


The above all said a good portion of my (and many others') preference for this song may be in part because Sonic Adventure 2's start menu features a partial instrumental version of this track that just plays on repeat. And also because the FinalHazard is one of the most hype boss fights ever.


This is not a song I would admit to liking normally even among friends, but it's Sonic's anniversary and I have to come clean: I really like Free. It perfectly gives that fast feeling and it is absolutely great to turn on while practicing levels in Generations.


Yet another song from the series toting the virtues of breaking out on your own and being yourself, Free's got that perfect mix of uplifting and catchy that makes it easy to get stuck in your head. So, I'm sorry in advance if you haven't heard this one or simply don't like it.


What I'm not sorry for is the Crush 40 version. It's slower, but come on. Every Sonic fan loves Crush 40. It's like a mandatory requirement to enjoy the series past your teen years.



Regardless of what you think about this game, you can't deny this is one of the most rockin' Crush 40 Sonic tracks. Well, you can deny it. But listen to it twice and you'll be thinking about it next week while cursing the fact you clicked through this list as you seek it out on YouTube.


Fight The Knight is great to get you pumped, and while it might not be inspirational or uplifting compared to many of the band's other songs for the series, it definitely has a spot here as a track that's easy to get into and inspires that much needed fast.


Sonic and the Black Knight has a few pretty good tracks, but none are as blood pumping as this one.


Another uplifting track that gets, Endless Possibility is one of the most popular vocal tracks from the series and it is certainly an appropriately fast and uplifting song for the 25th anniversary.


One thing that's for certain is that this song is a one-way ticket to loading up Sonic Unleashed, or at least the Unleashed mod for Generations.


This may be one of the less "forceful" tracks on this list, but it stands proud among some of the best vocal songs gracing Sonic, and it's not even by Crush 40. A+ would recommend again.


I almost hate to say it but Sonic the Hedgehog is my favorite video game franchise by a very large margin. In part because of nostalgia but mostly just because I gotta go fast. And Sonic almost always goes fast -- though sometimes he goes like 3/4 fast, on a bad day.


Much to the chagrin to the portion of my coworkers who are not crazy about Sonic the Hedgehog, today is his 25th anniversary! Which means not only do they have to listen to a bunch of "gotta go fast" babble and memes behind the scenes here at GameSkinny, but they have to edit whatever Sonic-related articles make their way to the site for the anniversary. And I definitely want to make that as fun for them as can be.


Sonic's time in gaming has been filled with some serious ups and downs, none of which the community can fully agree on besides two things:

  1. 06 is and always will be an unfinished pile of blue vomit
  2. \n
  3. The series as a whole has some great music tracks
  4. \n

Though the vast majority of Sonic music is non-vocal, there have been some seriously memorable vocal tracks over the years that not only capture the spirit of fast (or fest for those of you going too fast to bother spelling properly) but have the power to pump you up for whatever comes your way.


In a lot of ways many of these tunes are timeless, not necessarily because they're all that great from a universal perspective but because of their ability to uplift you even in the worst of moods and keep you pushing through.


Ahead are a number of vocal tracks from Sonic titles spanning several generations, and let me tell you: it was tough picking them out. So tough in fact, some slides aren't one song. Nearly a dozen hand-picked tracks didn't make it to the final list, but I'm confident you'll agree what we've got here are some genuinely appropriate songs for Sonic's big 2-5.

Sonic Runners Shutting Down Mon, 30 May 2016 07:22:45 -0400 Jordan DiPirro

In 2014, the Sonic Team prepared to release a mobile game called Sonic Runners. Sonic Runners was a 2D gameplay, where players had to tap their screen to jump. The game was released on February 25th, 2015 on iOS and Android phones in Japan and Canada. A full worldwide launch occurred on July 25th, 2015. However, the game failed to meet SEGA’s expectations and it was announced that they would be shutting down the game on July 27th.

SEGA announced the closure schedule. On May 27th 9 am Red Star Ring sales ended. Any of these Red Star Rings purchased prior to May 27th at 9 am will no longer be useable or redeemable after the closure of service. Use all the purchased rings by July 27th 9 am. The team also thanked everyone for playing Sonic Runners.


The game was in over a year after it’s launched. It’s a clear sign that SEGA hopped the game would be receipted better. It will be a long time before they attempt another mobile game.

Top 7 greatest rivalries in the gaming world Thu, 07 Apr 2016 11:23:59 -0400 Eric Adams


At the end of the day, who really knows who is the winner of these heated rivalries? With the exception of Mario VS Bowser, there is no clear winner to any of these. Both sides of each rivalry have a compelling argument as to why one is greater than the other. Some people feel Mortal Kombat is cooler than Street Fighter, others think that a PC is the way to go and the console is yesterday’s news. Let the rivalries rage on and the debates fly, this fight is just getting started.


Now it is time for the games and situations that came close, but didn’t have the track record of the previously mentioned. These all are still very good rivalries and you can even stake your claim in the comments section below. Surely, there are some other rivalries worth mentioning.


Honorable Mentions:

  • Marvel VS Capcom
  • \n
  •  Link VS Ganon
  • \n
  •  Master Chief VS The Covenant
  • \n
  •  Star Fox VS Star Wolf
  • \n
  •  Earth VS Invaders
  • \n
  • Nintendo Handhelds VS Sony Handhelds
  • \n
  • Rock Band VS Guitar Hero
  • \n

1. Mario vs Bowser


Bowser has been wreaking havoc in Mario’s life longer than we can remember. These two have seemingly been going at it for more than a lifetime. Bowser just can’t keep his hands off of Princess Peach. Mario would be better off chaining her to a fence in an underwater castle rather than letting her lollygag around the Mushroom Kingdom. It is only a matter of time before these two will wage war again. This is the ultimate rivalry to end all other rivalries. Even if it is a little one sided, I am sure Bowser will never stop trying to make Mario’s life difficult.




2. Console Gaming VS PC Gaming


A rivalry that has many different views, the console gaming and PC gaming argument may never truly have a declared winner. It seems that the market for console gaming will always be around, but PC has certainly strengthened from year to year and will only improve. PC gaming certainly seems to have the brighter future, and the confirmation of a new PS4.5 that would require a PC to run makes us ask: will console gaming begin to rely on PC gaming in order to reach new heights?




3. Sony VS Microsoft


It may be a little hard for people to take this rivalry seriously because they both make a ton of money and could probably care less about what each other is doing. However, everybody knows that you are either a PlayStation or an Xbox gamer. Apologies to my Nintendo fans, I am right there with you, but these two software giants are currently on another level. While Xbox 360 seemed to be stronger than its PS3 counter part, PS4 has utterly dominated Xbox One. Prepare to see this rivalry go on a long time as we are just getting started. Long live the console wars!


4. Mortal Kombat VS Street Fighter


The fighting genre has seen many newcomers that have tried to challenge the throne, but the Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter franchises have always reigned supreme. The differences between the two are stark with Mortal Kombat’s blood and gore being a drastic opposite to the cartoonish color of Street Fighter. Both have re-defined the fighting genre and have blazed trails all their own, but this rivalry will carry on with seemingly no end in sight.


5. Call of Duty VS The World


It just seems like you are either a huge fan of the series or you hate the Activision juggernaut. The Call of Duty series is every casual gamer's go-to game, and more often than not, it can be very frustrating. Like every other first-person shooter, CoD has a hardcore fan base, and they will defend the series like it is their dying wish. Simply put, you either love Call of Duty or you hate Call of Duty. Is it a rivalry in the gaming universe? Maybe not, but it certainly has divided a large contingent of gamers around the world.


6. Mario VS Sonic


This could also be swapped out as Sega VS Nintendo, but that rivalry has long been over. Nintendo may have taken down Sega, but the two top stars of both brands are still going strong. Sonic, of Sega fame, and Mario, the Nintendo poster boy, have been going at it since the mid ‘90’s. Sonic and Mario have both starred in a litany of games including a pairing of the two in the Nintendo Wii and DS game Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games. These are two of the greatest video game icons of all time and will be going nowhere soon.


7. Sub-Zero VS Skorpion


These two were on the same side in the (awful) Mortal Kombat movies, but Skorpion VS Sub-Zero is the fiercest rivalry of the Mortal Kombat world. These two are the poster children for the Mortal Kombat death match. They are polar opposites as one uses ice to slaughter his enemies, while the other burns them to death with fireballs.


What defines a rivalry? The definition reads competition for the same objective or for superiority in the same field. By taking that definition and applying it to the video game world, there are plenty of rivalries that are worth noting. Which ones stand up as the greatest? The most embroiled rivalries harken all the way back to the early Nintendo days. Some are more modern warfare, but which ones are truly the most heated? 

Mario & Sonic At The Rio 2016 Olympic Games - The official 2016 Olympic video game Wed, 16 Mar 2016 18:05:02 -0400 Kayle Simpson

Nintendo has just announced the release of Mario & Sonic At The Rio 2016 Olympic Games, which is also the official Olympic video game of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

This announcement keeps up with a long-standing tradition of official Olympic Games, originating at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics with the game Olympic Gold. This is not the first time Mario and Sonic have gone to the Olympics, in fact, this will be the 5th installment of the Mario & Sonic at the Olympics series.

Mario & Sonic At The Rio 2016 Olympic Games will be released on March 18, 2016 for the Nintendo 3DS and June 26 for the Wii U. The game features Olympic events including Soccer, BMX, Beach Volleyball, and Archery. New to the series (3DS only) are Golf and Rhythmic Gymnastics, as well as "Plus Events" that put a "Mario & Sonic twist" on traditional Olympic activities.

The game will be multiplayer, up to 4 players, and the 3DS version supports Nintendo Download Play - requiring only one copy of the game for local multiplayer. There are also two single-player campaigns (Mario and Sonic-themed, of course) that reward the player with custom outfits for their Mii, as well as integration with the 3DS's pedometer fuctionality.

Lastly, and certainly not least, Mario & Sonic At The Rio 2016 Olympic Games will feature 40 playable characters, as well as personal Miis. To learn more about the game, check out Nintendo's official page, and don't forget to let us know what you think in the comments!

Sonic's 25th anniversary game needs to ditch boosting and bring back momentum, Chaos Tue, 23 Feb 2016 22:31:32 -0500 Ashley Shankle

This year is Sonic the Hedgehog's 25th anniversary -- and as someone who spends more time playing Sonic games than anyone would like to admit, I'm pretty hype.

But as any Sonic fan (and morbidly curious spectator) knows, there's a reasonable chance that whatever Sonic Team churns out this year isn't going to be amazing. We can hope, we can dream, and we can throw our money at Sega in frustration -- but it's hard to get your hopes up when Sega thinks the Sonic Boom spin-off franchise warrants a second game.

There should not be two of these.

The primary function of the Sonic Boom games and cartoon (which could be worse) is to sell toys and other merchandise. Apparently it's worth it, and that's fine. Let's just hope Sega's quality control for their Sonic Team game coming this year is more than the one-man job given to the first Boom game.

But I digress.

Whatever the upcoming mainline game is, it's something to be excited about if you're a fan of the series. Our last Sonic Team-developed entry to the series was Sonic Generations, and Generations was a solid title meant to appease both classic and modern Sonic fans.

Generations was a good, albeit short, entry for long time fans and newcomers alike, but one big thing was definitely missing that would be ideal to include in the 25h anniversary game. If you're a big baby for Sonic like I am, you know what it is:

Momentum-based movement

Yeah, you should have seen that coming. This is something that was sorely lacking in modern entries to the series.

"Momentum-based movement" essentially equates to Sonic's speed being related to his positioning on a slope, incline, or obstacle.

These types of curves are a Sonic the Hedgehog staple, but their effects on player movement are different between the older and newer games, which are momentum and non-momentum based respectively.

In Sonic games that make use of momentum, the player will go slower when walking up the curve. Often the larger ones required spin dashing to ascend because Sonic himself literally can't walk up walls. If you give the original Genesis trilogy (Sonic 3 & Knuckles being counted as one game) a play, you can see this in action time and time again.

This is something the modern Sonic games almost always skip. Sonic can unrealistically walk up these types of curves without any sort of build up -- just hold right or up and eventually you'll get over the curve and continue on your way.

Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 unfortunately started the auto-play loop trend.

Some argue the removal of momentum and physics from the series is for the better because it's easy to go fast, but it removes much of the skill needed earlier in the earlier games. It's possible for even brand new players to pretty much hold right and jump once in a while to complete classic stages in Generations.

It's easier to go fast in Sonic 4, Unleashed, and Generations than the older games, that much is a fact. But much of the feeling of satisfaction over beating or going fast in a level is sucked dry, and that is something I hope returns to the series with the new game. In with the old and out with the new isn't so bad sometimes. Then again, I'm all for..

Boost removal

Look, okay, I get it. You boost, you go crazy fast and feel awesome and that's totally great and all but.. really how long is that fun for?

I've slapped Sonic Unleashed around my fair share of times and own Sonic Generations on two platforms. I clearly don't hate boosting but it's time to set it out to pasture and move onto more creative (and less stifling) gameplay.

The problem with boosting isn't the speed itself, but the way levels have to be designed around the player constantly boosting. Gone is the charm of looking around and exploring that we saw in Sonic's pre-boost 3D era. Now we have constantly going fast at the expense of experience memorability.

Can you really say you have levels you truly remember from Unleashed or Generations aside from "pet" levels -- the ones you personally liked enough to play again and again. I remember them, sure. I've played them both in the past 6 months.. but I remember the colors and themes, not so much anything else sans my pet levels, the nostalgia at Generation's level choices, and the trudging through unnecessarily long werehog stages in Unleashed.

Because boosting is so fast, the games featuring it fall short of memorable. You don't absorb the details of a level when you boost, and Sonic Team seems aware of that fact.

The levels in Unleashed all sort of mesh together in to a blob of "bleh". The game's settings weren't anything to really write home about and the music, sans some exceptions, is stale and forgettable.

Generations simply falls back on classic stages and more "modern" music -- and honestly I can't say I prefer most of Generation's takes on older levels and music over the originals. The lack of momentum in classic stages, paired with the constant boosting and mixing of 2D and 3D in modern stages, makes the game feel like it's more nostalgia than substance.

Sonic Team does not stick to one style of gameplay for too long. Adventure-style gameplay lasted three games, and was all but killed with the disastrous Sonic 06. The railroad Wii exclusive games like Sonic and the Black Knight had their own gameplay style, and Colors was Colors. 'Nuff said.

If this year's new mainline Sonic game includes boosting, it may very well be the last. But I'd rather boosting be left the dust for more substantial gameplay and levels with actual personality. Let's be real, though. All anyone cares about are Chao gardens.

Chao gardens need to come back

Do we need to go into this one?

The Chao Gardens in Sonic Adventure and its sequel were some of the best parts of those games, and countless players spent hours raising and racing Chaos. They quickly became a series favorite, so why hasn't any other mainline Sonic game brought them back?

Come ON.

The biggest feature people want to see in the 25th anniversary game is Chao gardens. There really isn't any excuse for those cute little bundles of love to not be in the upcoming Sonic Team game. But then again, you'd think there wouldn't be an excuse to release their awful 15th anniversary game (Sonic 06) in an alpha state either but they definitely did and it still is one of the worst games ever to reach store shelves.

The series needs Chao gardens back, and the 25th anniversary is the right time to make it happen, especially with the increased market focus on platformers as of late. They need to come back -- not just for the fans, but also to help capture the interest of newcomers and the press. Now's the time, hands down.

Every fan has their wishlist of features they want to see in the next real Sonic game. We're never going to see him reach the type of popularity only the 90s could retch up again, but a good game -- a game with good music, gameplay, and stages -- shouldn't be such a tall order from Sega and the developers it contracts for its flagship series.

My hopes are meager and my personal wishlist is small. A Sonic the Hedgehog game where he has weight, raises Chaos, and doesn't zip zam zoom through uninspired, boring levels with minimal platforming. Is that really so much to ask? We'll see once Sega and Sonic Team set the Blue Blur loose once again, but until then all we can do is wait and hope we don't have another Sonic 06 on the horizon. And if we do, it better have Chao gardens.

Platformers aren't dead, they're just mostly indie right now Tue, 16 Feb 2016 18:11:40 -0500 Ashley Shankle

Everyone has their favorite game genre. RPG, FPS, puzzle, RTS, MMORPG...the list could go on.

The popularity of individual genres comes and goes in waves. Right now we're in a third-person action RPG phase. A few years ago we were amidst the big first-person shooter boom. Somewhere before then, RPGs dominated all but the sports game market -- and right in the middle of that period came the fall of platformers, the genre many who played games in the late 80s and early to mid-90s grew up with.

I grew up in that era, and like many others I cut my gaming teeth on Super Mario Bros. 3. Later I moved onto Kirby and Sonic, devoured Mega Man and Castlevania, then spent ages demolishing Rareware's N64 offerings, Spyro, and Crash Bandicoot. Some move on from platformers but I have not. Platforming games are all I need.

Within reason.

Someone outside of the retro or indie gaming communities may assume the platforming genre is dead. After all, how many big name platformers have been released in the past few years? And don't point toward third-person action adventure games like Uncharted and modern Tomb Raider as examples. They may have "jumpy bits" but they are certainly do not fit within the overarching "platforming" genre.

Platforming isn't dead, it's just not AAA anymore

Despite the genre's current "sleeper" status, there are still plenty of good platformers released today for both consoles and PC. One look at Steam's "Platformer" tag coughs up 630+ results, and a sizable portion of the best on there were released within the past three or four years.

So why is it the platforming genre is generally considered "dead"? At a time when more platformers are being released than ever, one can only assume it's simply because AAA developers/publishers aren't putting them out, with the odd game in the genre released by a big publisher being minimally marketed.

Sorry, Rayman Legends.

You can take the above as it is and go, "Yep, that's it!" but the issue may just be more complex than the exclusion by big publishers.

On one hand we have a woefully small pool of marketed platforming games these days, but on the other hand we have...well, a really mixed bag of indie releases.

The genre is one of the biggest among the indie development community. Indie platformers come in all styles, difficulties, types, and quality levels. And the quality levels are where people who are less familiar with the indie scene have trouble -- with platformers being one of the easiest genres to make, there are a ton of indie releases in the genre that are less than spectacular.

In the land of indie platforming games

There are 630+ games on Steam tagged as being platformers. But what percentage of that 630+ is worth your time? Not a ton, but wading through the indie game pools can lead to some truly stellar platforming experiences.

There are a lot of great games of the genre on Steam, but let's be real: A lot of what's available isn't exactly what most people would even consider halfway good.

Spelunky is, though. You should play it.

I'm not saying this is indicative of the average quality of platformers today, but it is something that every modern fan of the genre that plunges into the grimy depths of indie platforming games has to bear in mind when they're looking for something new.

Now let's be totally clear: Some of the indie-developed platforming games I've played over the past few years fit very snugly into my list of favorite games: La-Mulana, Spelunky, Risk of Rain, Freedom Planet, Wings of Vi, Rogue Legacy, Rabi-Ribi -- these are just a few of the indie platformer offerings that have won my heart (and rage) over the past three years. And each one is insanely different, showing creativity in the genre isn't dead.

It'd be too easy to lament the amount of not-so-great options out there these days, but variety is the spice of life. Many new developers migrate towards the genre because it's easiest to dive right into making, and everyone has to start somewhere. And that somewhere may lead to something truly special later.

The future of platforming

You may not see advertisements for the genre anymore, but it is by no means dead. Indie developers have kept the platforming train chugging along, filling the genre with respectable games and keeping the hype alive for what's to come.

Platformers may be hiding in the corners of both hardcore and casual gaming for now, but it's not going to be that way forever. The genre dips in and out of popularity as soon as another genre strangles the market share, but it never goes away. It never will -- platforming is one of the few genres developers haven't squeezed all the potential from, and it's possible they never will.

While I am eagerly awaiting upcoming indie platformer darlings Mighty No. 9 and Yooka-Laylee, even without those big names coming I could do just fine with what's else is on the pipeline. There's so much in terms of the platforming genre today, it's hard to get dissatisfied with what's available, even among the sub-par options. There are just too many good platformers out these days to count, much less let the bad wash away the good.

Just because platforming games don't get the attention they used to doesn't mean they're dead, and it certainly does not mean there aren't any amazing recent releases. Platforming is the one genre that can stand the test of time -- and right now it's standing quite proudly, regardless of its current marketing clout.

10 sweet video game inspired cakes Fri, 21 Aug 2015 11:26:04 -0400 Chelsea Senecal


These beautiful cakes are found in many different varieties throughout the Internet. How-tos and lessons are also available, so try your hand at creating one for a friend or loved one.


Have you seen/created any video-game inspired cakes that you'd like to share? Let me know in the comments!


Mario cake


And finally this monster. Not only did someone make a cake of a Mario's piranha plant, they made it super realistic and creepy. This is some next level creativity that's also super impressive.


Picture source with more angles. 


Mass Effect cake


Holy cow. I'm glad this includes the step-by-step of how the layers and fondant are added, because I would've been in utter disbelief about this being a real cake. The Krogans would be proud.


Picture source


Borderlands cake


Yeah. That's a cake. A Claptrap cake. I'm baffled by the structural integrity of this guy.! This was a groomsmen cake that, I'm sure, added some Badass Points to the party.


Picture source


Skyrim cake


This is a dessert fit for a Dragonborn. Brush up on your dovah-zul, because you need to go ahead and learn the Thu'um: In-Su-Lin. But really, this is pretty badass.


Picture source


Plants vs Zombies cake


This Plants vs Zombies cake is one of the best I've seen. Other variations have plastic zombie figurines, but not this one. This is edible from the top of the football helmet down to the dirt. 


Picture source


Sonic the Hedgehog cake


This looks like a real (albeit shorter0 level in Sonic! See how the hill helixes up? Kai must be one happy kid and the envy of the neighborhood! I wonder how fast this cake was scarfed down.


Picture source


Legend of Zelda cake


Just. Wow.


This Hyrulean shield looks so perfect, I'm not even sure it's edible. This was clearly made with some love and care. Link could just offer this to Ganon and the series would be over!


Picture source


Portal cube cake


Speaking of cubes, this Portal Companion Cube cake is too adorable. This cake is not a lie! Revel in your long-awaited reward, my friends. 


Picture source


Minecraft Cake


How did they get those straight lines?! The topper is even edible. I wonder if they made the outline in Minecraft itself before getting to work. If the baker wanted a real challenge, they could always try to replicate a fan creation.


Here's a link to the original page


NES Cake


Going back to the classics, this NES cake looks super tasty. The good thing about gaming consoles is that they are a convenient shape to start with. Trying one at home would be a good starting point for anyone looking to surprise a loved one with their favorite console as a cake.


Here's a link to the original page.


Birthday cake. Wedding cake. Whatever. Who doesn't love it? But cake doesn't last forever. That's why the impermanence, the Wabi-sabi of it, is almost the best part. The bakers of these cakes made these not only for other people, but with the knowledge that their creation would be destroyed for the sake of dessert. It requires a lot of love.


There are some truly talented individuals out there. Bakers are often overlooked as artists, but every now and then we get a glimpse of just how intricate and creative something as timeless as a cake can get. Combining video games and baking is no easy task, but these bakers did it. 


Here's a list of those creative and fun cakes, although I wish I could include a runner's up sub-section because there are so many great ideas from novices as well. 


There's no telling if these tasted good, but we can still awe in their sculpting and culinary ability to make little perishable works of happiness.

Summer Games Done Quick has begun! Time to go fast Sun, 26 Jul 2015 08:06:26 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Are you ready for six days of marathon speedrunning for a good cause? Summer Games Done Quick has begun, and it's packed with just that: going fast in the name of charity.

The Games Done Quick marathons take place twice a year, with one in winter (Awesome Games Done Quick) and one in summer (Summer Games Done Quick). Both events are packed with prolific games and speedrunners small and large in fanbase to not only entertain, but to raise money toward worthy causes.

This Summer Games Done Quick is benefiting Doctors Without Borders, which provides medical aid in conflict and crisis areas worldwide.

Games to go fast to

Going fast is the name of the game in the GDQs, and this SGDQ's lineup is just spectacular. Below a brief summary of the types of games being run each day this week. Do be sure to read through the official schedule to look for games or runners you're interested in watching.

Sunday, July 26th

Trihex's Yoshi's Island run is starting things off, followed by some super hype Sonic, Donkey Kong, and Crash Bandicoot runs.

Monday, July 27th

Early morning hosts some Resident Evil 4 and Silent Hill 2, with most of the rest of the day featuring some classic Disney games and prolific classic platformers. The Tetris: The Grand Master exhibitions will begin around 7:40PM EST. If the exhibitions at AGDQ were anything to go off of, these are a must-watch.

Tuesday, July 28th

The day to watch if you're a Metroid Prime fan. Bioshock Infinite and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel being run in the very early morning, with NES-era games being run in the middle of the day. A good amount of Mega Man X and Castlevania being played the second half of the day.

Wednesday, July 29th

Early morning starts with some popular indie titles and Shantae and the Pirate's Curse. The Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep FM HD run begins early in the morning, and is followed by some Kirby titles and a SEGA block. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D, The Legend of Zelda (using no sword), and Earthbound are all highlights in the second half of the day.

Thursday, July 30th

Thursday is pretty varied, with two Touhou titles in the morning, and some real treats in the afternoon into late at night. Hosts a Castlevania block, a Mega Man block, Halo 3, and a Nintendo 64 block at the end of the evening that continues into super early Friday morning.

Friday, July 31st

Starts the morning of with Banjo-Tooie and Donkey Kong 64 and goes into a varied medley of modern and classic games up until the indie game block in the early afternoon. Dustforce DX, I Wanna be the Boshy, and Binding of Isaac: Rebirth are some of the highlights during that block. The rest of the afternoon and evening are dedicated to Nintendo titles from the NES to Wii era.

Saturday, August 1st

Starts with a hype Pokemon Blue blindfold run, followed by Pokemon Puzzle League and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Shadow of the Colossus starts at 8:15AM EST, and a Minecraft run at 10:20 EST. Saturday has a fair amount of tool-assisted runs in the afternoon and things are wrapped up with another Nintendo block. A co-op Chrono Trigger run will be wrapping things up.

The above doesn't even come close to mentioning all the games being run at SGDQ this week. As mentioned above, be sure to check out the full schedule to see if there are any games you want to see done fast for a good cause. And don't forget: GET HYPE.

10 Most Iconic Songs in Gaming History Sat, 20 Jun 2015 04:00:47 -0400 Ryan Martinez

If you're a fan of the Mortal Kombat series, then Mortal Kombat X was probably as close to perfect as game could be for you. Huge fighter roster, gruesome fatalities, stunning graphics... There was just one thing missing that fans were upset about before the game launched - no Mortal Kombat theme! Iconic songs like that are a staple of gaming, making everything feel more epic or heart breaking, and something that gamers everywhere can instantly recognize.

The Mortal Kombat theme is just one example. There are countless other songs that gives us a quick shot of nostalgia. Today we're going to break down 10 of those epic songs to take you on a feels trip through memories of your gaming career.

10. Halo Theme Song

Before Halo: CE, no one had thought of using Gregorian chant in a video game soundtrack. No one would have believed it would work. Yet Bungie proved everyone wrong by turning a mix of Gregorian chant, percussion, and string into one of the most recognizable and famous game themes in history. Even people who are not fans of the Halo series recognize and love this little diddy.


9. Skyrim Main Theme

What could be more iconic in gaming than bringing together a choir of 30 singers to do a song in Draconic, the native tongue of the dragons of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim? That attention to detail is what made Skyrim the shocking success it became. Especially for me - after watching a man in full Nord cosplay appear majestically from a sun roof at the game's midnight launch, chanting along to the words. If that doesn't make for an iconic game song, then nothing does!

8. Portal: Still Alive

Sung by everyone's favorite homicidal AI, GLaDOS, this song became so famous in the gaming world that it landed a spot as downloadable track in the Rock Band series. It's biggest contribution to the gaming world, though, is an all-important question: Is the cake real?

7. Sonic 1: Green Hill Zone

Sonic has fallen from grace over the years, going from the king of fast-paced side scrolling adventures to...a race car driver. The blue blur's glory days might be behind him, but longtime fans will never forget the Green Hill Zone theme song that still pops up in Sonic games today.

6. Metal Gear Solid Theme

After all the drama and intrigue surrounding series director Hideo Kojima, there has been a lot of worry among fans about ever hearing this iconic theme again. As recognizable as Snake himself, the Metal Gear Solid themehelped set the series' tone from the beginning, and it's keeping up the good work even now.

5. Tetris Main Theme

If you listen closely to this bit of late 80's brilliance, you can still hear the sound of gamers ragequitting with a stream of curses. The Tetris main theme might not be the fondest memory for gamers, but it's one they will never be able to forget. The classic puzzle solver made sure of that.

4. The Legend of Zelda: Overworld Theme

You can still hear this theme today in form or another in every Legend of Zelda game Nintendo produces, and it's still one of the greatest pieces of game music ever created. It's filled with everything that's great about the Legend of Zelda series and can instantly grab any gamer's attention.

3. Pokémon Red & Blue Theme

No matter your age, this song can instantly turn you into a kid again, taking you right back to the first time you loaded up Pokémon Red or Blue on your Gameboy. What could be more iconic than the theme song for the games that started the biggest franchise in Nintendo'shistory?

2. Final Fantasy VII: One Winged Angel

There is no other piece of music that can instill the same level of fear as "One Winged Angel" from the final boss fight with Sepiroth in Final Fantasy VII. That reawakened all of our fears and nightmares in Kingdom Hearts 2, when Sepiroth once again showed us who's boss.

1. Super Mario Bros.

Odds are you saw this one coming, but how could we not place the Super Mario Bros. theme at the top of our list? No matter where you go in the world, this song is instantly recognized - even by non-gamers who may or may not know where it's from. It's been played on every instrument imaginable (including people's bellies) and has been reimagined a million different ways. It's simply impossible to escape, so just enjoy it!

What iconic songs make you feel excited or nostalgic? Were there any songs we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

GameStop Moves In On Retro Gaming Market Thu, 07 May 2015 07:22:05 -0400 Critley Lynn King

Mario, Link, Pac-Man, and Sonic all share something huge in common. They all (and many other classic characters) were a large part of generations X and Y's childhood.

Classic gaming is where it all started, is where gaming skills and technology were developed, and is where characters were born that are still just as loved and viable in the gaming market as the day they first hit the shelves. The devotion and long-term fan base that classic gaming holds has continued to carry on over the years; it is no surprise that GameStop, one of the largest gaming retailers in the United States, has decided to delve into the market. Soon the gaming giant will begin testing out the sales of retro games and consoles in 250 stores across the United States and on their website.

Soon the gaming giant will begin testing out the sales of retro games and consoles in 250 stores across the United States and on their website.

Transactions will be the same for retro products as they have always been for current merchandise. Gamers will be able to sell their classic games to GameStop for store credit or cash value based on the trade-in value of the product. And this is exactly what has some gamers up in arms about GameStop's latest move.

Several concerns come up

The top one concern being why would anyone want to trade in a retro, possibly collectible game for a few measly in-store credits? GameStop is a retailer like any other; it practices good business by bidding low and selling high, a formula that keeps most companies profitable. GameStop is known for good deals, but to provide low prices they must buy and receive trade-ins at a lower price than the game's actual value, leaving some customers feeling low-balled.

GameStop selling retro games and consoles could ultimately hurt local gaming retail. With major game retailers such as GameStop being able to offer products at lower prices, it is hard for small local game shops to compete. Small shops' only option has been to offer retro, classic, and rare titles and hardware. Soon this one advantage in the market will not belong to the small business owners and local game shops could close, leaving gamers with fewer choices.

Another concern is that some people will illegally reproduce classic titles, attempt to sell them to GameStop and then the pirated copies could be bought by an innocent customer. Will the gaming store have a way to vet items being sold/traded to them when rip-off cartridges are easily and cheaply made?

Time will prove whether GameStop joining the business of retro games is a good move for the gaming industry or not. But, for now, the silver lining is that those games that you have been searching for at flea markets and in discount bins just got a lot easier to find.

So let me know, are you happy with GameStop's new move? Will you buy your retro games from the gaming giant or stick with your local mom and pop stores and flea markets? Would you be willing to trade in your classic games for trade-in cash value or store credit?

10 Most Memorable Songs In Video Games Sat, 06 Dec 2014 09:21:08 -0500 Death Metal Hero


10.) Hotline Miami - Miami


Some of you might say that Hotline Miami seems a bit out of place on this list, and to a degree you're right. But to be completely honest, I feel that Hotline Miami has one of the best and most memorable soundtracks of any game in the past ten years. The simple yet constant repetition of the main riff, followed by the thumping bass and drums makes this song one of the most instantly recognizable video game themes in recent times.


9.) Earthworm Jim - New Junk City Theme


Composed by the legendary Tommy Tallarico, it should come as no surprise that one of his games made it on the list. With its atmospheric synth keyboards, gallop-like bass riff, and progressive song elements. New Junk City is an instant classic among gamers young and old alike.


9.) Sonic 2 - Chemical Plant Zone Theme


Many would suggest the “Green Hill Zone” Theme from the original Sonic, but there is something extremely catchy about the Chemical Plant Zone theme. From the upbeat feel of the song, to the tidal wave of keyboard riffs. Although both themes are highly memorable, I feel this one is just a bit better.


7.) Killer Instinct - Main Theme


Very few fighting games have a strong and memorable soundtrack like Killer Instinct does. There is a lot of really good songs in Killer Instinct but the main theme has the most raw power to it. The heavily distorted guitars with the atmospheric synth keyboards bring a unique sound that is easily recognized by any fan of the fighting genre.


6.) The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time - Hyrule Field Theme


For some gamers this is the theme song of their childhood. Not only is Ocarina of Time one of the best Legend Of Zelda games of all time, it also has the best soundtrack in the franchise. The sweeping string section, the steady march of the snare drum, and the blasting horns makes this one of the most recognizable themes in video games.


5.) Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow - Bloody Tears


Although bloody tears first appeared in Castlevania II for the NES, the remake of the song for Dawn Of Sorrow is by far the best iteration. The gothic and symphonic elements that were in the original song shine through in this version. This upbeat track has one of the most memorable piano riff’s in the history of video games.


4.) Super Metroid - Brinstar Depths


Very few themes in video games are as atmospheric and memorable as Super Metroid’s “Brinstar Depths” Exploring through the depths with this theme playing truly brings the alien world to life. Everything about this theme song is near perfection from the piano riff to the synth “Ah’s” Every instrument brings a new level of depth to this masterpiece. 


3.) Megaman 2 - Dr Wily Stage 1


The Megaman franchise is loaded with amazing theme songs and memorable enemies. But when you finally reach the first stage of Dr. Wily’s fortress, Capcom decided to bring their best. Very few themes have the inspirational impact as this theme does, it’s like an E-Tank for your will power.


2.) Final Fantasy IX - You’re Not Alone


A truly heart-wrenching moment in the Final Fantasy franchise. After Zidane learns that he is only made to destroy, he falls into a major depression. Questioning himself and the friendships he has made, he is determined to finish the story alone. The choir that comes in halfway through the song is the powerhouse effect, which is guaranteed to send chills down your spine.


1.) Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island - Baby Bowser’s Theme


The second phase of the Baby Bowser fight in Yoshi’s Island is by far one of the most epic moments in the Super Mario franchise. The shrieking synth guitar sets the mood perfectly for this boss battle; eerie and evil. Then the song explodes into a thrashing heavy metal jam. There’s nothing quite as epic as heavy metal jam during a gigantic boss battle.


Over the years we all have experienced a lot of epic and memorable songs in the realm of video games. Without music, our most cherished moments would only be a sliver of their full potential. The music in video games is a puppeteer pulling on the strings of our emotions, making the hatred we feel for the villain all the stronger, and the lover for the hero more personal. I have chosen to leave out some of the more obvious 'famous' songs for more personal choices.

Top 5 Most Annoying Types of Video Game Missions Sat, 20 Sep 2014 08:40:22 -0400 Jay Prodigious

There is always that one type of mission that brings gamers to the point of breaking their controllers in frustration. Here are some picks for the top five types of annoying missions. These missions have been around forever, and will undoubtedly carry on to current and next-gen games.

5. Required Side Missions

These are the missions that switch the focus away from the main story, and place you into the shoes of someone who isn’t really a part of what you’ve been working for this whole time.

The Strikeforce Missions in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 are a perfect example. These missions take you away from the game's main characters and give you control over ground troops and robotic drones to defend certain outposts. These RTS-style encounters don’t feel like they add to the story. They only pull you away from a character or setting that you were just getting comfortable with.

4.  "Beat this within a certain time to unlock different endings."

These missions are less common nowadays, but they do still exist. Let's look at Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z. In one mission, you must fight Frieza in one of his final forms. One of the secondary requirements is to beat him within 3 minutes, even though the fight itself can run longer than that amount of time. However, if you take the full amount time allotted for the fight, you can’t unlock the next level.

It's missions like these that make no sense. Why give us the extra time when we can’t technically win with it? That only adds more stress and ruins the desire to keep playing the game.

3. Kill X Amount of “This” Missions

These have existed in many online games, from World of Warcraft or to newer titles like Destiny. They're simply a cop-out in terms of missions - sending us to kill the same things we were killing before, but requiring that we reach a certain number or percentage before moving on.

In Destiny, this happens pretty close to the beginning, as the game sends us scouting to pick up random missions on the battlefield. A large majority of those missions are this exact type, or the similar “Collect X amount of This" missions. The NPCs are clearly trying deliver a blow to the enemy’s forces. But that's nearly impossible when the group you just killed has to respawn in a minute or two so you can reach your mission number/percentage goal?

2. Escort/Babysitting Missions

These missions almost took the number-one spot. There are even some games that base their entire stories on these missions. Ico, The Last of Us (though that one was redeemable), and parts of Resident Evil  4 were all designed to have you protect someone important while they do nothing to help stave off the waves of baddies.

Sure, some games get it right and give the escortee reasonable A.I., allowing them to defend themselves if need be. But that isn’t always the case. I’d rather not spend hours of gameplay listening to a character scream because I let one enemy past me and they can’t take a second to fire their own weapon . Why designers think this is a good mechanic is beyond me.

1. Underwater Missions

This one can be a mission or a level. But we can all agree that underwater gameplay for characters should not be required for characters who aren't acquatic natives.

We can look all the way back to the Sega Genesis days and see Sonic as a great example. My dreams are still haunted by its music, warning you that you're about to drown. The altered movements and doing puzzles while floating underwater are hard enough, but the limited amount of air, coupled with sparse opportunities to come up and breathe are even worse. And thsse are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bad aspects of underwater missions. There isn’t one gamer alive who doesn’t dread underwater levels. 

Fun party game: mention the World Water Temple. Watch anyone who has played Ocarina of Time shudder violently. 

So which one is your least favorite? Was there one I didn't mention that should be listed? Comment and let me hear what you think.

10 Of The Best Video Game Tattoos Tue, 01 Apr 2014 04:48:54 -0400 Danielle Marie


Venom from Spider-Man


I saw this and had no choice but to include it, Venom being my favorite villain, and Spider-man being my favorite super hero. However, it's not just because I'm fan-girling pretty hard. Looking at that detail, it's hard not to be impressed. 


Image source


Dhalsim from Street Fighter


A clever use of angles, this Dhalsim tattoo creates the illusion that the wearer's foot is actually about to cause someone serious pain. Too bad the tattoo wouldn't help him in a real fight. 


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Amaterasu from Okami


Speaking of contrast, the red and blues here are quite eye-catching. This is an awe-worthy back piece if I've ever seen one. 


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Haunter from Pokemon


I had to take a second look at this one when I first saw it. How fantastic is this Haunter? The shading and color contrasts beautifully.


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Sonic, Mario, Legend of Zelda, and More


Now this sleeve is just epic. Maybe I'm biased because I'm a huge Sonic fan, but the contrast between Sonic and Shadow is so well-done I'm almost speechless. 


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Another Mario Sleeve


Perhaps 1-upping (pun intended) our first slide, this sleeve is a much more realistic version of Mario. This time it's a scene from the game, and it looks like Mario is about to learn about Bullet Bill the hard way.


Sonic the Hedgehog


I don't think Sonic has looked any better. This tattoo artist knew what he was doing, this piece is flawless!


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Master Chief from Halo


The detail and color on this one is mind-blowing. Look at how majestic he looks. 


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Nintendo Montage Sleeve


Taking Mario one step further, this guy/girl decided not to stop there. There's Donkey Kong, Samus from Metroid, Link from Legend of Zelda, and more on this incredible Nintendo sleeve. 


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Mario Sleeve


I look at this and immediately get excited. From the mushroom to the warp pipes, everything that scream Mario is definitely here. 


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Opinionated Gamers, Old vs. Young: Who is More Entitled? Thu, 20 Mar 2014 02:16:47 -0400 Pierre Fouquet

Before you dive into this article I just want to give you an idea what I mean by old and young.

Old is when you were a child or teenager at the time of 8-bit or 16-bit consoles. Think the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive or NES/SNES era, maybe even Commodore 64.

Young is when you were a child or teenager when 3D games were here. Think Sony PlayStations, Microsoft Xbox (not One but the first one), Nintendo GameCube and N64 type eras.

Gamers who are children or young teenagers (below 14) now, and are growing up with the Xbox 360, PS3 (and now Xbox One and PS4) are included in the group Young. However they will be dubbed as baby gamers for the purposes of this article.

Right are we all understood? Great, let’s dive head first into this.

Who Gets the Bigger or Louder Say?

The Debate

There’s been a debate raging between gamers for as long as I can remember so, this is nothing new. It’s got everything to do with who gets the biggest say between gamers and their ages. Do the older gamers get a bigger say about what should happen in the gaming industry because they used to play 8-bit or 16-bit 2D platformers? Do the young gamers get a bigger say because they were the reason 3D gaming became a thing? Do baby gamers have the biggest say because they are the future of gaming? Because they will shape what gaming will be like in the future, how it will be perceived?

As I said, this debate is nothing new. I simply wanted to share my feelings as a young, 20-year-old, gamer who grew up in the PS2 and Xbox Original era. There is no one, of any age, who is right, or better. No one gets a bigger say. No one has a better opinion, but let’s think why some age groups think they are better. Well, my opinion of why at the very least.

The Righteous Wiseman

There are older gamers out there who believe they have the only say. That they have the ultimate power for what games should be like. Gamers who were... say, under 15, when Thief first came out, World of Warcraft, or even Half Life. On the console side, they played the 2D platformers, like Sonic. Scrolling beat-em ups, like Streets of Rage. Fighting games like Punch-Out.

The Original Sonics are the best.

Some of them believe games should go back to how they were when they were kids: they have to be brutal, unforgiving and have no saves. They believe that those sorts of games are the only way to game, and that everyone should love them.

This has nothing to do with if I like the game or not, I personally love Sonic (lately it has gone down a very steep hill). But why do some older gamers feel the need to tell us young gamers what we should and should not play, or like? Is it because they grew up with these games? So they feel if they had to play them, that we must play them also? By "had", I mean if they wanted to play games, they had no other choice than to play what they had. This isn’t inherently bad.

So the above is the stereotype, but these come from where right? Of course the older gamers how have legitimate complaints are voicing opinions like,  hit a button and go, no 100 hoops to jump through. To be able to be in the privacy and comfort of your own room. Having no forced multiplayer, no constant "sharing" via social media. And nobody knowing what you're playing and doing 24/7. Along with no constant patches, updates, DLC, etc. Thank you Fathoms_4209 for bringing this up.

I agree with Fathoms

Why do we have multiplayer thrown at us all the time, along with patches, DLC and social media? Can we not just enjoy a nice single player game? Ok, so this is slightly off the topic. There are games for you, The Last of Us being one of the best examples for this in really recently times.

Can we all be Happy?

Old gamers want their super-tuff-no-save 2D platformers, but I want my not-too-hard, always save FPSs. Ok not me per say, but some baby gamers find the 2D games to be terrible, a waste of time and boring. And that’s fine to. Let’s just have both, with games like Super Meat Boy, Spelunky or VVVVVVVV (how many Vs does the game have?) older gamers have their platformers.

I have yet the play Spelunky as I feel 2D platforming games are a bit saturated. But there are still some great ones out there, and which are going to come out.

With the Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises, and now Titanfall, baby gamers have lots to choose from for their FPS gaming.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 had some amazing moments, but marked the beginning of the downfall of Call of Duty for me.

Baby Gamers Baby Crying

Baby gamers want JUST Call of Duty (or that fish game, CoD is it?). I mean look at the sales, it shows it’s the best game ever created right? Wrong. There are lots of baby gamers who use the, “it sold more than your game” argument to prove that the game is better. Sales do not equate to quality.

It’s apparent that the quality of Call of Duty, or even Battlefield, has been decreasing. They are getting more and more buggy. But their sales are rising. Why is this? Is it because baby gamers just want the same thing over and over? Well that’s just the thing, there is more and more outcry about how all games are becoming Call of Duty. Even the likes of racing games, other FPS games or even 2D platformers--but why is this?

Each Call of Duty sold more and more, but are they getting better a better?

Online Ranking Systems

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare brought online ranking systems to the forefront of how a multiplayer shooter should be. With its successes, many games started copying it. Which is fine; if something does well why not take its ideas? It works with the Batman Arkham games. They don’t do anything new, but they put a fresh spin on ideas.

As this ranking system got more popular, other genres started to use it. Look at the Forza Motorsport series, most notably Forza 3. This version in the series introduced an online ranking system, which works much like Call of Duty: compete to gain points. Get specific levels you get bonuses, like cars or XP boosts, or a reduction on cost of parts. Look at Ace Combat: Assault Horizon--many calling it Call of Duty in the sky. I tend to agree with them, but it was an enjoyable game. Which brings me to my next point.

Ace Combat changed, but was it for the better?

Gamers Both Want Change and Loath Change

An example of wanting and liking change, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The game is different from the originals by adding a cover mechanic, the praxis points and the ability to lift only very specific things. But they kept the core of what Deus Ex was, the ability to play the game how you wanted.

An example of going against change, Thief (the new one). Again the game is different from the originals by adding a cover mechanic, adding a leveling and upgrade system. Also only allowing you to jump or climb at specific points. They also kept the core of what Thief is, the ability to play the game how you wanted. Ghosting or more aggresive stealth (of course the only option is stealth).

How is this different from Deus Ex? Not letting you jump all the time? Why would you want to? Would Garrett really bunny hop? Have they not kept the core of what Thief is? The similarities between how Eidos Montreal made the Thief and Deus Ex reboots are close. They both add a hub type world, they restrict what you can do without making it feel like you can’t do anything. And, above all, they both made mistakes but, overall are fantastic. Are they not? If you don't like them, tell me why.

With both of these games they tried something new and both had different outcomes on what people thought. They both made mistakes, but both kept to what the series is known for. Young gamers really like the games, but some old gamers do not.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the Detroit hub world.

Whose Voice is for Change?

It seems like there are plenty of voices for change, but there are plenty against. It sounds like to me that most of the noise for change is coming from my era, the PS2 era. But that may be me being a little bit biased. What do you think?

Baby gamers are saying we need more FPS games. Older gamers are saying, with any reboots they need to be made exactly the same as the originals. But the PS2 era gamers are saying we need hybrids of each.

Who’s Right?

There is no right and wrong. There are currently games for everyone and anyone, games for all ages, all gamer styles. They are not all old 1980s games, there are plently of older style games which have come out very recently.

Whose Voice is the Truth?

After going off track, let’s bring it full circle. Your voice is the truth, but only for you. My voice is the truth, but for everyone! Ok, everyone who agrees with me. If you are reading this thinking, "God! SpazldNinja has written utter rubbish!" Please write a counter argument telling me why. I always love to hear both sides.

I honestly think that this whole my voice is the best attitude is rubbish, everyone is correct for themselves, and the sooner everyone accepts that, the quicker we will all get along.

Generalising the Minority

Of course for anything said I am generalising. For the purposes of this article, I had to. The people arguing like this are the minority, they are just a bit more vocal.

Back to Entitlement

No one has the entitlement to be the only correct voice. No one has a louder voice. Everyone is equal. So with that cheese out the way, let’s get into the meat of this. I've said this about 10 times by now right? Sorry.

If everyone thinks they are the only truth, then are we not all wrong? After saying your voice is the truth, I am now saying you are wrong, why? For me, if you say Call of Duty: Ghosts is the best game, I will say you are wrong. That means you are wrong, right? Wrong. But... what? You are right for you, and that is all that counts. So, again, your truth is the truth for yourself, and not fact.

What Does your Voice Say About You?

Instead of thinking that your voice is correct, think about how your voice comes across to others. Does it make you seem like you’re arrogant? Does it make you come across as a person with an opinion, who also respects others? Does it say that you’re immature and dumb, even when you aren’t?

Do you think I’m right or wrong? How did I come across to you in this article? What do you think? Have I respected your age group? Let me know in the comments below.


If anything in this article offends you, please let me know. Then I can explain that I didn’t mean to. I will then add to the article explaining why I have said what I did.

All of this was from my head, if I got anything wrong, please let me know.

Introducing the New Next Gen Console....Your Smart Phone? Mon, 12 Aug 2013 20:48:35 -0400 Critley Lynn King

Consoles and PC’s have been at the forefront of gaming for years, but with the development of iOS and Android devices, they may have to jump over to the passenger’s side. Yes, that’s right, there is a new kid in the gaming town, and it is the smart phone.

With the instant gratification mind-set of this generation that spreads like a wildly contagious disease, it is no wonder that mobile gaming is so popular.  Instead of having to save and scrape up sixty dollars to go out to your local game store (or order online) to buy that console game you have been dying to play, you can simply download some of the newest and hottest things to your smart phone. 

Awesome Titles

Google play and the Apple store have an endless array of hardcore games ranging from MMO’s to RPG’s, to shooters, puzzle games and tactics. Usually these games are rather inexpensive (the highest I found was $15.99), mere pocket change in comparison to what is spent on console games of the same genres.

While many might suspect that mobile gaming lacks quality, this is not the case. Popular titles in the Apple store and on Google Play such as Horn, Order & Chaos, Avabel, Champs, and Infinity Blade put up a fair fight competing with console games on graphics, story, gameplay, and musical score. Classic console games such as Pitfall, Galaga, and Pacman are also a staple for the platform.

Mainstream companies such as Sega, and Square Enix also have a mobile presence with titles such like Sonic the Hedge Hog, Final Fantasy IV, The World Ends With You, and Chrono Trigger all available for download.  More recently, TellTale has made all of their newest games available for iOS.

Cool Gadgets

The low-cost, convenience, and popularity of smart phone gaming has spawned a number of new gaming accessories such as:

  • Mini joysticks simply attach to the screen of a smart phone (or tablet) via a suction cup and instantly you have two thumb joysticks just like you would have on a Playstation or Xbox controller.
  • Smartphone gaming guns allow the player to place their phone inside a special slot in the gun (near the top much like a scope) and blast their frustrations away in this new twist to the shooter genre.
  • Special speakers which enhance the mobile gamers experience and make them feel more “in” the game.
  • Tiny Arcade machines are also there to please the classic gamer. For those who want to relive their glory arcade days there is the Arcadie. The gamer places their phone in the back of the Arcadie, and instantly their phone is transformed into a mini arcade machine.        
Strength in Numbers

While your iPhone won't be usurping the PS4 or the Xbox One, it offers a great gaming alternative, at a fraction of the cost.

Perhaps the biggest reason that hardcore gaming may be becoming so popular on mobile devices, is because there is no huge, expensive console required…you and millions of others, already hold the superior option in your hands.


Five Played Out Franchises that Desperately Need to Take a Break Thu, 11 Jul 2013 12:36:58 -0400 Alan Bradley

The gaming industry is big business. While we might like to think of our hobby as somehow purer or more innocent than other corporate enterprises, when sales stretch
into the billions and massive corporations become the shepherds of our favorite series, some exploitation is inevitable. Nowhere is that more true than in the five
franchises listed below, once-beloved gaming icons that have been stretched almost fatally thin and desperately need to take a break and consider what made them so
successful in the first place.

5. Sonic

In his heyday, Sonic was the face of a company and a generation, the mouthy, irreverent foil to Mario's stodgy silliness. Whether you liked the blinding speed and
blistering action of his side scrolling adventures or not, you knew his name, and you couldn't escape his face on cartridges, cereal boxes, or Saturday morning

Now, however, Sega has been trying to reinvent Sonic and make him relevent again for almost twice as long as he was actually popular. There was the Tails era, Dark
Sonic, attempts to shoehorn in some 3D, and finally the flailing attempts to recapture the magic of the 2D games on a new generation of consoles. But Sonic, like the
Noid or the Kook-Aid Guy, was the definition of a mascot cemented in a specific point in time, and there's no going back. It's less that Sonic needs a break to
reevaluate, and more that Sonic needs to be finally, gracefully retired. Stop mining (and in the process tarnishing) our nostalgia, Sega, and give the old blue wonder
the rest he so richly deserves.

4. Megaman

Megaman and Sonic share a lot of common ground. They're both blue relics from the 8-bit era, both looming legends that had their fifteen minutes of fame, both cartoon
stars that sold an embarrassing volume of merchandise. And they both represent thoroughly exhausted franchises that belong in the archives of gaming's illustrious
history, not in watered down appearances that seemed designed to exploit our childhoods.

While attempts to resurrect the versatile blue blaster haven't flown quite as far off the rails as they have in Sonic's case, they've been prolific and similar enough
to leave us with a nearly permanent case of Megaman fatigue. Especially now, in an era where every other indie title seems partially inspired by Megaman's legacy,
there's no room left for yet another tired take on the shooter-platforming that seemed so novel in the mid-80s.

3. Gears of War

While we're quite sure we'll see a glut of Gears games on the Xbox One, we can't help but be charmed by the idea that the Gears of War franchise will be left in the
360 stable: the franchise that defined a console. One of the killer apps that first whipped up excitement for Microsoft's second machine, the trilogy of games that
stretched throughout the 360s life cycle was one of the cornerstones of the console's whirlwind success.

But by the end of Gears 3, you could feel fatigue creeping in. You can only take cover behind so many pillars, only chainsaw a locust into a pile of bloody gibs so
many times, before it all starts to feel a bit bland. By the time Gears of War: Vengeance rolled around, we felt like we'd done our part in saving Sera for humanity,
and even with it's kitchen sink approach of countless modes and skins and multiplayer, it all felt stale and used up. It's time for Gears to step aside, at least for
a bit, give the creative minds at Epic time to breathe some new life into those dusty lungs, and let another franchise takes up the banner.

2. Call of Duty

It should surprise no one to see a popular Activision franchise getting milked until it's a withered, desiccated husk (see: Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk), and while there
may still be a bit of meat left on CoD's sagging bones, it's getting thinner and thinner.

Way back when Call of Duty was primarily a PC series and set during the second World War, it wowed us with its massive set-pieces and chaotic, explosive, immersive
action. And when the series stepped into the modern era, it redefined multiplayer shooting on consoles and won legions of new recruits, from die-hard shooter brahs to
people who'd never heard the term FPS before in their lives.

But the yearly grind, even spread across two teams doing very different work, is eroding what once made Call of Duty great into a thin, regurgitated paste. Each year,
the feature list gets a little sillier, epitomized by the marketing for Ghosts that calls out highlights like reactive fish AI. Though we know how unlikely it is
under Activision's callous stewardship, we believe Call of Duty could be great again, if only it could slip away for a couple years of much needed vacation. We saw in
the transition from WWII to modern combat how a tired series could be revitalized, but working that kind of magic on a brutal yearly release schedule would be nearly

1. Mario

We know: in many circles putting Mario at the top of this list is borderline sacrilege. But take a moment and consider: when was the last time you played a Mario game
that captured even a bit of the exhilarating wonder of the golden age of NES and SNES Mario games? For us, the answer is simple: it was the last time we played Super
Mario Bros. 3.

Now, we're certainly not saying that every modern Mario game has been a flop. There have been some terrific spin-offs, and even some of the "core" games have been
serviceable, if not particularly revolutionary. But because of the way Mario and Nintendo have become synonymous, we've seen so much of the red clad plumber in so many
Nintendo products that just the sight of him now makes us a little bit sleepy.

In a lot of ways, Mario represents how Nintendo is trapped in its own past, still leaning heavily on a franchise from the 1980s to sell consoles in 2013. If the
company is going to escape the hole it's currently digging for itself, it's going to need some fresh ideas, and that starts by giving Mario and company a break and
letting someone else shoulder the burden for a while. Both as a franchise and as an emblem for the entire company, Mario needs to take a step back, or Nintendo's long
reign may finally, sadly, end.

Sonic and All Stars Racing Transformed Review Mon, 14 Jan 2013 13:03:52 -0500 jhlc823

Sonic and All Stars Racing Transformed is a family orientated racing game packed with loads of fun! I didn’t get a chance to play the prior installment in the series but my girlfriend was tired of me playing EA sports games all the time like Madden, 2K, and NCAA so I decided to go out and find a game that we could both play.

The Hunt

After about fifteen minutes of research into upcoming games, I stumbled across Sonic and All Stars Racing Transformed and it sounded like a really cool game. It reminded me of a two of my all time favorite games: Mario Kart and Diddy Kong Racing, with the intense action packed racing of Mario Kart and the ability to operate various vehicles like a car, boat, or a plane in Diddy Kong Racing.

So I bought the game... and from the very first race I have been absolutely in love.

The Game Play

The game includes some features that I had never seen before such as tracks that alter throughout the course of a race. Each race includes three laps for completion but on the final lap on every stage there is a special twist that may include a new route and/or a change in vehicle. It’s because of this constant variation of the tracks that none of them seem to get old.

Alternative Play Modes

If you ever get tired of just racing all the time then I have also found enjoyment in the other game modes. The user has the ability to do all different types of fun games such as drifts, battles, and even play capture the flag. Another thing I found interesting is that there is not a one player game mode. Up to four people can team up to beat the game though sometimes I forget that and my girlfriend feels left out.

The Bottom Line

Top to bottom this is an all around great game. If you are like me then you like family games to be nice and simple but have a few features that keep the game fresh and interesting. If you are looking for a great family game this holiday season then a better game doesn’t come to mind.