Steve’s Top 5 Games of the Year (2014)


I have had an extremely busy time this year. Unfortunately, most of that times was dedicated to academics and other life stuff…and Peggle Blast for Android OS. Don’t worry, no way I’m letting a mobile game get on this list. I did manage to get to a good number of games I’ve been eying for a while, but unfortunately, time (and funds) didn’t let me get to other games I been putting off (Bayonetta 2, Hyrule Warriors, South Park: Stick of Truth, etc). It’s actually why I had to do a Top 5, rather than a top 10. I guess those are left to my eternal backlog. Oh well, anyways, to the list.

Honorable Mentions:


Mario Golf: World Tour

I’m not the biggest sports guy. I would only watch big events like the Super Bowl or World Cup( dat 7-1, eh?). That also applies to sport games, so don’t expect to see me talk about the latest Madden or MLB game. However, there are exceptions. Games like NBA Jam or NFL Blitz, mostly those zany, arcade styled games, are more my speed, since they’re a bit more hectic and allow for more creativity. The Mario sport series certainly falls under this category. Mario Golf: World Tour is a great portable game. You can play the game for a few holes, take a break, and then resume later with no hassle at all. Even the online mode is pretty fun and helpful for picking up some swing techniques. My major gripe with the game is that despite having a decent chunk of content, there’s little to no replay value. The lack of a single player RPG mode, which were featured in previous portable versions of Mario Golf, left me desiring more out of the game. But still, the mechanics and courses were solid enough for me to recommend this game to any casual golf fan…but perhaps when it’s discounted though.


The Jackbox Party Pack:
If there’s one thing I love, it’s playing party games with my friends. At $25, this can’t be passed up…unless you are not the type of person who likes this sort of thing. Anyways, this game contains a bunch of great games, like You Don’t Know Jack 2015, which has a bunch of new episodes with everyone’s favorite virtual game show host, Cookie Masterson,  and Fibbage XL and Drawful, where you have to create deceitful answers believable enough for others to choose in order to win points. What’s great is that everyone can play using their cell phones, iPad, or computer, so no need for extra controllers. Brad actually did a livestream a few weeks ago where viewers can actually play too. If we get enough of a response, we’ll try to do something like this again.

And now to the list!

#5- Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season TwoWDS2_KeyArt_Logo-650px

Season One of Telltale’s The Walking Dead is one hell of an emotionally impactful game. Although there were not many, the decisions you had to make drastically affects the sort of experience you were going to have. And, of course, as Lee, you had to decide what kind of role model you were going to be for Clementine, which made decisions so much tougher. This element allowed players to become more involved with the relationship between Lee and Clementine, which made the ending so effective.

In Season Two, the primary dilemma for Clementine is what she values more: survival or loyalty? This question creates a number of dire situations in Season Two, which resulted in me asking “Well there is no way this is going to end well” on many occasions. However, I felt that the writing may have been weaker in this season. A number of the hard choices were virtually pointless, since all decisions end with similar results (Season One had this problem as well[i.e. illusion of choice ]). I also wasn’t as emotionally involved with this season, since I wasn’t as fond of the majority of characters in this season, which lessen the impact of their potential deaths. All of the endings except one, which was the one I received during my first playthrough, felt disappointing. Even though the ending I got left me tearing up, I had the feeling Telltales won’t be able to continue the story in Season Three successfully. They have to somehow tie in the multiple endings of Season Two into a one cohesive plot for Three, which could mean that the choice the play made at the end of Season Two meaningless.

Nevertheless, I still recommend this series, both Season One and Two, to people who desire decent stories in a zombie infected world. Even now, I prefer this game over the TV Show and the comic series. This series has the compelling human drama that I desire in zombie stories, and fortunately for me, it shows up in the entertainment medium I enjoy most: video games.


#4 – Mario Kart 8

I’m not sure how much more I can say about Mario Kart 8 that hasn’t been already said by others. This game is the best Mario Kart game yet. It built upon the superb foundation of Mario Kart Wii & 7, bringing back key features like gliding, underwater driving, motorcycles, and a great online system. It’s also the best looking MK game to date as well.  Even the DLC is great, drawing inspiration for new characters and track from other Nintendo franchises like F-Zero and Excite Bike. Despite some gripes with the roster, this is a must have game for the Wii U. ‘Nuff said.


#3 Super Smash Bros for 3DS

I’ve said this once, when I managed to get Smash Bros 64 working on a Nintendo 64 emulator app for my phone, but I’ll say it again: if I were to show my younger self that I was able to play Smash Bros just about anywhere in the world, without the need of a home console, kid Steve’s mind would explode. That’s how much I love Smash Bros, and I can firmly say that I love this version of Smash Bros.

Smash Bros for the 3DS doesn’t compromise much on content, despite being on a portable console. Anyone familiar with Super Smash Bros’ director, Masahiro Sakurai, knows that his game philosophy includes having an insane amount of content in each of his games. This game features many returning modes from previous iterations of the game, like Classic mode, Stadium mode, All-Star, and, of course, Smash. But this game adds a few good modes as well, such as a completely playable online mode that puts Brawl’s to shame(which sadly, isn’t a difficult task to do). Smash Run is a mode that has the player run through a giant maze fighting enemies from various gaming franchises and collecting stat boosts in order to strengthen the player’s character before playing a final round of Smash after five minutes.

Some people would argue that this version of Smash was merely a glorified demo for the Wii U version. But I’ve spent an extraordinary amount of time with this game (partially because I’m not home often enough to play the console version). This game, along with Wii U, has the largest roster of any Smash Bros yet. The stages, although smaller in scale to compensate for the size of the 3DS’s screen, were quite creative, like the F-Zero and Earthbound stage (although I’m sure no one likes the ‘birdmin’). The controls work well for the 3DS, although some may free lost since the 3DS control scheme is rather different from the Gamecube controller, which many Smash players have become more than fond of. Once again, this is one of those “must own” games for the system.


#2 – Dark Souls II

The Souls series is infamous for its difficulty. I’m sure just about every modern-day game enthusiast knows this. But I argue that the game series is manageable, as long as you always display caution around every corner, along with having a firm grasp on the combat system. If you still run into trouble, there’s one piece of advice I have for you: “Git gud.”

Any souls veteran should be able to pick up this game with ease. But Dark Souls II is even accessible for newcomers as well, thanks for the optional tutorial at the beginning of the game. Of course, there’s new bosses, new weapons, armor and spells, new enemies, and a whole new land to explore. The game also allows for online co-op and “invasions”, when you can warp into another player’s game, uninvited, in order to fight and vanquish them. Dark Souls II allows for many ways to go through the game, whether you wish to create a character who is a tank, a nimble ninja, a sage, or somewhere in between.

One of the issues I personally have with Dark Souls II is that the game didn’t have as many memorable moments as DaS1. The different areas in the game are all branched off of Majula, the hub area. But in Dark Souls I, there was more of a connection between different areas, such as seeing older areas in the far distances, or shortcuts that can take you to areas on the complete opposite site of the map. The bosses, although plentiful, were quite forgettable, some even being recycled from DS1. Finally, the atmosphere felt a bit duller, due to some of the blandness of the areas found in the game.

But I went into Dark Souls II for primarily one reason: to put up a good fight and eventually kick its ass. And that I did. I found the challenge I was looking for. If you are brave enough to test your skill as a ‘gamer’, absolutely give this game a whirl. There’s a new edition coming out soon for the XB1 and PS4, along with an updated PC version. I recommend checking those out when you get the chance. And if you struggle…”git gud”.


#1 – Super Smash Bros for Wii U

Reasons why this is my GOTY
1.) 8 Player Smash

2.) Glorious HD

3.) Solid Online Mode

4.) Dat Roster

I really can go for a long time, singing praises about this game, but I want to grab some food, so I’ll try to keep this brief. This is the game Brawl should have been. The gameplay is solid enough for competitive and casual players to enjoy. The roster has someone for everyone. Who would have imagined that Wii Fit Trainer would be so fun to use? A lot of the single player modes now have co-op options, giving this game more options when with friends. Smash Tour is a fun mode that brings some of the zaniness found in Mario Party and Fortune Street to Smash Bros.

BUT 8 PLAYER SMASH! It’s a fantastic way to make the already chaotic local multiplayer mode even crazier. The fact that you have a lot of controller options (Wii U GamePad, Pro Controller, Wiimote, Wiimote and Nunchuk, Wiimote and Classic Controller, and , shockingly, the GameCube controller). If you are a Nintendo fan, you should have no problem gathering enough controllers for some 8 player fights.

The Amiibo functionality is also worth noting as well, since it allows for extremely weird virtual Smash Bros Cock Fights. You can personally train your Amiibo to level 50, who will pick up your technique and fight style along the way. Eventually, you’ll be able to buy an Amiibo for every character in the game, and you’ll be able to use these Amiibos in other games as well. Just a warning though, it may be difficult to find some of the Amiibos since they are actually rather popular, and Nintendo underestimated how popular some of them would be.

Nevertheless, Smash Bros for the Wii U is a great reason to get a Wii U. As mentioned before, Sakurai’s games always have loads of content that’ll last you a good, long time. Now that it finally has a decent online mode (and a tournament mode coming soon), you’ll be able to play people from all around the world with little to no lag. Who would have thought that ‘smashing’ would bring people together?

Now that I have some time, I should finally be able to catch up on some games that I missed during 2014. But overall, it was a solid year, especially for the Wii U. I’m glad to see that Nintendo’s console is finally getting the games it’s been yearning for a while now. I’ll be doing a list for ‘Most Anticipated Games of 2015’ soon, because uh…wowzers, it looks like my wallet is going to going into overtime.

A Happy New Year to all of our followers. Let’s hope that 2015 and all following years has games for all of us to enjoy.

Toys R Us Will Be Selling Any Three Amiibos For $30

Originally posted on My Nintendo News:

If you’re considering building up an Amiibo collection then you may want to think about this Toys R Us deal. The US-based retailer will be selling three for $30 on all Amiibo figures. The deal begins next week so it will certainly be worth checking your local store.

Thanks, Lord Zedd and Michelle

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NUReviews @ New York Comic Con 2014

It’s our favorite time of the year…besides all of those other times that are just as cool. But New York Comic Con is still pretty cool! And we were there! Check it out!
Music Credits

Midimachine – Forever South

Abra Sounds – Parallel and Simultaneous

8-bitheroes – My 8bit destiny

Schematist – Neon Arcade

Thoughts on “Tusk” (Spoiler-Free)

Thursday, September 18th 2014 was the release day of Tusk, the first of the “True North” trilogy of films based on particular episodes of “Smodcast”, hosted by the movie’s director, Kevin Smith, along with his producer buddy, Scott Moiser. There was also a special promotion going on: if you take a picture of your ticket stub and add a certain hashtag on twitter, your handle gets to be in the credits for the DVD and Blu-Ray release. I’m sure that hardcore Smith fans and those interested in having an excuse to have a listing on IMDB saw it opening night. It being a Thursday night, there were bound to be a decent crowd for the screenings on Friday, or at least I would like to assume that. I wasn’t able to see the movie until Saturday. Typically, I’m a movie goer that likes to go to the theater by themselves, not because I’m a loser (although I won’t deny that), but I do like to watch movies without much chatter. It turns out I got exactly what I asked for.


The only really downside of watching Tusk in an empty theater is that I really can’t gauge the reactions of others. That’s why this is movie is going to be difficult for me to recommend.

Tusk is based on a fake ‘for rent’ listing on an English classified website. The imaginary landowner offered free rent, but in exchange, the tenant must dress up as a walrus for two hours a day, to aid in recreating the friendship landowner had with a walrus. This hoax gained a lot of popularity due to just how bizarre the idea was, which eventually ended up as a point of discussion on Smodcast. After some back and forth with Moiser, they discussed how a horror movie based on the ad would go. But afterward, the idea of the movie was secured planted in Smith’s mind, to the point of asking his Twitter followers if they would actually like him to make this movie. Thanks to #WalrusYes, Smith got the answer he wanted to hear. Only a bit over a year later, Tusk is available for American audiences to see.

Wallace Bryton, played by Justin Long, a Smith veteran, is a podcaster who travels around the country to interview “weirdos”, then, in a deprecating fashion, recounts how it went to his co-host, played by Haley Joel Osment. Wallace eventually ends up in Canada, where he meets Howard Howe (Michael Parks), a wheelchair-bound man who had plenty of adventures to share. But before Wallace realizes something was off about Howe, he falls victim to an extraordinary produce that leaves him as close to being a walrus as possible.

I think that alone should be enough for you to determine whether or not you would like to see the film. But as a completely unqualified reviewer, it’s my duty to help you out with making the right choice (for yourself, at least.) First off, “Tusk” tries to present itself as a horror movie. There isn’t much violence or gore in the movie, but there may be a few parts that could creep you out. Overall, I feel that the comedic elements overshadow the horror aspects of Tusk. I’m usually not on for horror films, but Tusk was an easy sit-through. Michael Parks, who also starred in Smith’s previous film, Red State, brought his A-Game, delivering a performance that brought the traits of Howe, which can leave you admiring the character until he reveals his true left. There was also another character, played by an actor I’m sure you know of, that was rather eclectic and notable, but I rather not ruin the surprise for you, if you decide to watch the film. The rest of the performances were good enough to where I can’t have any grips against them. As for the characters though, aside from Wallace and Howe,  I really felt that they did not deserve as much screen time they got, which was a good fifty percent of the movie. Most of it is just comprised of pointless drama that failed to get me intrigued. I just wanted to see more of the walrus. Speaking of the walrus, the practical effects used was great enough to have you taken back at how much work went into creating the walrus. But if you’re like me, you’ll can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous the whole thing is. I’m not just talking about the walrus, but the whole movie itself. You would be doing yourself a disfavor if you come into this film, expecting to be scared. But that where I think the movie fails. Smith said many times in interviews and his podcast, calling it a horror movie. But there was not enough material to praise Tusk as such. I believe the target audience Smith had in mind for Tusk was his loyal fans, along with himself. When I say loyal, I mean beyond just enjoying his movies. In order to really appreciate the film for what it is, you would have to be familiar with Smith’s work in podcasting. References to his shows, like Smodcast, Plus One, Hollywood Babble-on, and Edumacation, are littered throughout the film. There isn’t much witty dialogues you have come to expect of Smith films that can be found in Tusk. The absurdity is the movie’s only saving grace, and even that’s stretching it.

I give Tusk a 3 out of 6. Unless you are a Kevin Smith super fan boy, the only way I can imagine people enjoying this movie is by watching it with a group of friends and savor the screen time that the walrus gets. I get the feeling that Smith’s intention will be lost among mainstream audiences, probably expecting some spooks but instead laughing at how dumb the movie is and writing it off as terrible. If you are going to watch the film, do yourself a favor and listen to the Smodcast episode that inspired Tusk beforehand. You’ll get a better idea of what you’ll get out of the movie. There was a part of the podcast episode I figured wasn’t going to show up in the movie, but I was surprised to see it as a scene. It turned to be my favorite part of the movie, since the movie went full out stupid at that point. From time to time, it may be good to watch stupid movies, perhaps to loosen up a bit. I know I said this many times throughout this review, but please be aware of what kind of movie this is. If you still are unsure, just wait until it hits Netflix. That way, if you don’t like it, the only thing you’ll end up wasting was time and not money.

Phantom Dust Gets A Second Chance

In March 2005, a mere eight months before the release of the console’s successor, the XBox received a title that received critical acclaim and not much else. This could describe several games that came out on the XBox that aren’t Halo, but, unlike Psychonauts or Barbie Horse Adventures, Phantom Dust was never released on another platform.

Until today of course.

Phantom Dust was born out of Microsoft tapping a huge amount of Sega’s talent. Panzer Dragoon Orta, Toe Jam & Earl III: Mission To Earth, Jet Set Radio Future, and GunValkyrie were released directly by Sega. Phantom Dust itself was directed by Yukio Futatsugi who previously worked on the original Saturn iterations of Panzer Dragoon. Microsoft needed to court the Japanese market; they still have a hard time selling today, and the PlayStation 2 days coupled with a new brand didn’t help. Ambitious titles like Project BC and True Fantasy Live would be cancelled, and other titles like Fable and Brute Force would under-deliver. Phantom Dust was a risk, and it wasn’t one Microsoft wanted to take.

An English version of the game was canned by Microsoft before it saw release; the game would receive a deal between Majesco and Microsoft to see the light of day here. It was exactly the game the XBox could’ve used years earlier. Yet it came out to little fanfare as hype for the XBox 360 built.

Now it’s seeing the light of day again. A release on the XBox One seems like a bit of waste, but at least now we can hope that Microsoft will release the title to PC in a few years. Here’s both a Let’s Play of the original title from a fan site, and the newly released teaser that shows no gameplay of the remake.

Real Journalism’s Take On Gaming

The most interesting take on E3 lies not in IGN, Kotaku, Polygon, etc. but on business channels and newspapers. We know how the hype train goes in the former; the latter reports on E3 with a sense of bewilderment and detached sensibility that’s incredibly intriguing after more than a decade of the expo.

I’ll be using two examples: one from CNBC (which was hilarious, and I’m sure someone will save the clip), and one from the Wall Street Journal. Both from today. Both are directed towards businessmen. Stockholders. People betting on whether or not it’s a good idea to invest in any of the companies we’re concerned about producing games. The misinformation, confused statements, or lack of mentioning certain companies was more amusing than seeing heavy British accents in revolution-period France.

CNBC: the main discussion amongst their contributors was how well Microsoft would benefit from exclusive DLC and Gamestop. The DLC in question? Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. It’s hard to tell outside of our bubble of gaming news if that would effect sales; really, it shouldn’t and it instead creates a stronger sentiment against Activision-Blizzard and their yearly releases. The stock jumped up slightly from the news. If there was a mention on it being a timed exclusive I didn’t hear it. More hilarious was the Gamestop name drop; a contributor that had no idea what digital distribution was thought it was a great, underpriced investment due to used game sales and thought their focus was still on games (they’re switching their business platform to include cell phones).

The other more credible news source setting up articles for later in the week was the Wall Street Journal. Hyping up a console war, with no mention of PC gaming or sales, they had a good twenty paragraphs of the Xbox One versus the PS4 and lingering Wii U sales. Canned statements from Take Two Interactive, Nintendo, Sony, and Kotaku littered the article. They pointed out some of the concerns around the Xbox One since release: the pointlessness of the Kinect, the threat of taking away used games, and price. There was no mention that the majority of games for the Xbox One are available on other platforms, especially PC, and they play better elsewhere.

The writers, Ben Fritz and Nathan Olivarez-Giles, also defined the Wii U Gamepad as just being a tablet, “instead of the usual mix of thumb sticks and buttons…” They did get the information of sales being up since the release of Mario Kart 8, but the article is missing key information that could be useful to their target audience: investors. And unless a company is private like Valve we definitely need to keep an eye on that also. Super Smash Brothers will move the most units later in the year; something that we’d all want to take advantage of if our goal was to pump-and-dump money into a company. Yet there’s no mention of it. Instead, there’s the statement from Take Two that they’re committed to the Xbox One and PS4; an entirely fruitless statement since it’s stating the obvious and merely that they’re sticking to the status quo.

News will be flooding out on E3 continuously. I’ll be keeping my eye on news not for me but for the monied elite instead through out.

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