Is Nintendo Fixing the Switch Online Service?

Nintendo indicated that the company will continue to work on the Switch Online Service in their latest investor meeting.

It has now been a couple weeks since Nintendo launched the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack. It seems that the reactions to the service has been mixed, with most of the reviews being negative. Most gamers agree that the convenience of being able to play N64 titles on the Switch is really cool, but the emulation leaves something to be desired. Most gamers probably won’t notice the issues, but there are some graphical glitches in some of the games and input lag on a couple titles.

There are countless articles and videos on the internet addressing the complaints that users have had with the service. And while Nintendo makes some questionable decisions, I’m sure they are aware of user experience issues that gamers are having with the service. The big questions is whether Nintendo will think it is worth it to fix the issues or not. With 32 million subscribers to the service (including both tiers), I wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo were to consider it a success in spite of the noticeable problems.

However, in Nintendo’s latest investor strategy meeting, the company indicated that they will continue to improve the online service. Nintendo wrote, “Going forward, we will continue to improve and expand both Nintendo Switch Online and Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack striving to provide services that satisfy consumers.”

It is nice to know that Nintendo hasn’t forgot about their customers, but I think they will really have to prove it to their user base. Nintendo has such an amazing legacy, but they have lost faith with some of their customers in recent years. Let’s hope that Nintendo will fix the issues with emulation on the Switch and continue to listen to their customers as we move further into the Switch’s lifespan.


Hidden Gems: When are we Going to Acknowledge How Great Freedom Fighters Was?

I will always remember Christmas of 2002. That is when I got a Nintendo Gamecube. It came packaged James Bond 007: Nightfire and two controllers. In my opinion, the Gamecube was way ahead of its time in a lot of ways. I had a lot of fun playing Nightfire and The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker over the next year. In 2003, I got a game for Christmas that I knew nothing about. That game was Freedom Fighters.

Developed by IO Interactive and published by EA, Freedom fighters was a third-person shooter action/strategy game. The shooter element of the gameplay is straight forward. However, there is a strategy element to the game where you recruit fighters and direct them to defend areas or attack enemies. The way you use these fighters can change make the difference between beating a level or not.

The plot follows an alternate history where the Soviet Union won WWII and positioned themselves to launch a full invasion of the United States in the modern day. You play as a plumber named Chris Stone who lives and works in New York. The Russians invade and you help to fight them as you rise up to become the “Freedom Phantom” who leads the resistance.

I’ll always remember sitting on the floor in front of the tv as I watched Chris deliver his awesome speech from the tv station. This outlines perfectly how advanced the voice acting and cinematics were for the time.

This is a game that is criminally underrated and should be talked about way more. The shooting gameplay is simple, but satisfying. The mechanics of recruiting a squad and commanding them is a really unique aspect of the game that is a lot of fun. You have to build charisma to be able to recruit npcs to fight for you. You build charisma by accomplishing feats that help the resistance.

Its satisfying to take back New York from the Soviets in the campaign. There are varying difficulties you can play on and they are all appropriate jumps in difficuly. The multiplayer is really unique as well. Rather than just a simple team deathmatch style game, you have to take bases and hold a central flag for longer than the other players. It is a really fun game mode that would be awesome in the current online gaming environment. Of course back then, it was local multiplayer. You may be able to make the argument that that made it more fun.

This was back when cheat codes in games were common. You could buy books that had all the cheats of games from that year. The cheats in this game were really fun to toy with after you had already poured hours into beating the main game.

The soundtrack to this game adds so much to the atmosphere. The music was composed by Jesper Kyd. Mixing communist style choral arrangements with industrial sounds, you get the perfect soundtrack to beat the foreign invaders out of your city.

Overall, this is a game that was really fun when it came out. And it is still really fun today. There was a PC re-release of the game last year. But if any game deserves a full ground-up remake, it is this game. The gameplay would translate really well to todays industry. And there is a lot of potential for added game modes.

If you have never played Freedom Fighters, you need to pick it up!

Game Discussion

What Skyrim Taught me About Gaming

Skyrim taught me that gaming had become mainstream.

With the 10th Anniversary Edition of Skyrim coming out soon, I have been thinking about the game and the legacy that it has left behind.

During my teenage years, I was always really behind the time when it came to technology. My game consoles were always a couple generations behind all my friends. This means that I didn’t experience new games at the same time as everyone else. To me gaming was always a fun hobby that was specifically enjoyed by a niche group of people. It was always “nerds” (for a lack of a better word) that were really into video games.

So it was a surprise to me during my junior year of high school, when everybody was talking about this new game called Skyrim. I had never even heard of it. I was still playing the Gamecube when Skyrim was released. I was living under a rock and had no idea what they were talking about. Later on I would put it together that it belonged to the same series as Morrowind, which I had played before.

The weird thing was is that the people who were really excited about Skyrim being released were people that I wouldn’t have expected to like it. These students would’ve made fun of someone for playing World of Warcraft, but here they were enjoying a game with many of the same fantasy elements. What set Skyrim apart? What made Skyrim so accessible to people who weren’t nerds like me?

It wasn’t until 2014 that I finally bought an Xbox 360 and a copy of Skyrim. I bought it at Hastings Entertainment, which is sadly a relic of the past now. I took the game home and booted it up and from the moment the title screen appeared I was blown away. I realize that Skyrim has now become a meme in a lot of ways. Even when it came out, there were games with better graphics and smoother controls. Skyrim was really buggy and would freeze or crash sometimes. But in spite of that… it still managed to capture the hearts of gamers.

Not only did it capture the hearts of gamers, but it managed to break through to the mainstream. Skyrim was a game that gave a lot of people their first exposure to an Open-World Action RPG style game. Many people who just picked up the new versions of Madden or Fifa every year took a chance on a fantasy themed game and it won them over.

There was something about the openness of the world and the level of interaction you had with the NPCs that made it a really fun experience. And even though the graphics aren’t as impressive as current generation games, the landscapes are beautiful. I’ll always remember that first time I ran from Riverwood to Whiterun and looked out over the massive plains around the city. Jeremy Soule’s amazing music in the Elder Scrolls series is tough to match and it set the perfect atmosphere.

The video game industry is generating more and more money every year. More people are playing games than ever before. It wasn’t always like this. Skyrim was the game that helped me realize that gaming was not just a niche hobby anymore. It was a full blown form of entertainment to respected as art. No more did Jocks make fun of nerds for playing games with dragons. Now they were enjoying it too.


Elden Ring Shows New Gameplay

Earlier today FromSoftware, who previously developed Dark Souls and Bloodbourne, showed off some new footage of their will-be smash hit, Elden Ring. Watch the trailer here:

Based on what we have seen so far, this game will definitely live up to the hype that it’s generating. Graphically it retains that FromSoftware aesthetic while managing to look visually ethereal… Is that a good way of putting it? Anyway… the world looks beautiful and looks to be packed with more fantasy elements.

The gameplay looks incredibly fluid. Even more so than FromSoftware’s predecessors. This game looks like it will allow a little more versatility to the attacks, allowing attacking from the air and horseback. And there looks to be more of a allowance for stealth gameplay. On top of that, there will be a greater focus on magic and player builds. This will give variety and greater utility in the items you pick up. Players will have fun being able to approach and defeat enemies in a variety of ways.

They have kept invasions as a part of online gameplay. But it will also be possible to play cooperatively with other players online. One of things shown in the gameplay trailer is a co-op boss fight that looks AWESOME. Some of the NPCs shown are more traditional RPG characters while some of them are more unique and whimsical. I think this will be a really unique gameplay experience and I can’t wait to pick it up!


Take Two Cancels Massive Game

Rockstar’s parent company, Take Two Interactive, just cancelled a game that $53 million had already been dumped into. They revealed this information in an earnings call earlier today. This isn’t the first time we have seen a big project like this cancelled, but $53 million is a lot of money any way you slice it.

The game was in development from studio Hangar 13 who developed Mafia 3. The project had the working title ‘Volt’ and was a third person action game that featured super heroes. So it probably was not the Bully 2 or Mafia 4 that people were speculating.

When you are dealing with massive AAA titles, $53 million is not nearly as much as the full budget would’ve been with some titles costing over $400 million. It sounds like this project had experienced a number of problems and adding the pandemic on top of that it had left it a bloated mess. This probably caused Take Two to just view it as a sunk cost, not worth continuing to invest in.


Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV Postponed

Coming as no huge surprise, Blizzard has more bad news for us as they announce that Diablo IV and Overwatch 2 will now be released later than expected.

The pandemic has really slowed down production not just for video games, but for all industries. We have seen countless movie releases pushed back and the global supply chain crisis has many products out of stock around the world. In recent years, we have seen a lot of games pushed back.

But to me this specific news doesn’t really come as a surprise. Blizzard has had a long string of controversies. The most recent being the studio facing a wide range of sexual harassment allegations and lawsuits. This has led to the studio being scrutinized by the public and key employees leaving in the midst of the game development process. Diablo IV and Overwatch 2 both lost their directors after news broke of the allegations.

There was no target date mentioned for the release of these games. So it is best to assume we probably won’t see Diablo IV or Overwatch 2 until 2023 at least.

Game Discussion ranking

Top 5 James Bond Video Games

With the new 007 movie, No Time to Die, being out in theaters, I have been revisiting some of my favorite James Bond video games. The original James Bond novels by Ian Fleming have inspired one of the longest running movie franchises in history. Along with the movies, there have regularly been 007 themed video games released since the early 1980s. Some of these games follow the plots of their film counterparts and others have a plots that belong all to themselves. I have not personally played every single Bond game that has been released, but I have played a lot of them. Here are my 5 personal favorites from the 007 franchise.

Honorable Mentions

Here are a few honorable mentions:

  • Tomorrow Never Dies (1999)
  • James Bond 007: Blood Stone (2010)
  • From Russia With Love (2005)

These are fun games and I have fond memories playing them. While these games are solid entries in the series and its cool to play as Sean Connery in From Russia With Love, these games don’t do quite enough to crack the top 5. The remaining games on this list either brought something fresh to the series or really nailed the “Bond Game Formula”.

5. Agent Under Fire (2001)

Agent Under Fire is a really fun game. This was the first Bond game of the sixth console generation. It was first released on the Playstation 2 and was later ported to the Gamecube. It took the first person shooter formula of the Bond games from the N64 and brought it into the new console generation. Most of the game is an FPS, but there are sections of driving and rail shooting as well.

This game has all of the James Bond cliches. You get to use your fair share of cool Q-Branch gadgets. The thing that puts this game in slot number 5 is that the controls do feel a little clunky and there isn’t enough stealth gameplay. One of the things I love about Bond games are the levels where you really feel like a spy getting to sneak around and collect intel. It’s a good game and a fun James Bond experience, but the other games on this list would probably be better for an introduction to the series.

4. Everything or Nothing (2003)

It was really hard to rank the rest of this list. I really love all four of these games so the ranking could change depending on the mood that I’m in. The next game in my ranking is Everything or Nothing from 2003. This game, like Tomorrow Never Dies, took the common FPS Bond format and moved the game to a third-person perspective. ‘Everything or Nothing’ also introduces a cover-based shooter element that is really well done.

This game has some really cool level design and a lot of variety in gameplay. The gameplay is classic Bond, but there are levels where you drive a cool weaponized Bond car, a tank, fly a helicopter, and repel down buildings. This game also has a really fun co-op campaign that you do not get with most Bond games.

3. The World is Not Enough (2000)

The second 007 game to be released on the N64 was The World is Not Enough. This is the first game on this list that is based on a movie of the same name. And compared to other games that are based on films, this game does a really good job of following the movie closely. ‘ The World is Not enough’ to me is a really good blend of the stealth based gameplay and the classic FPS Bond experience.

The story is really cool and you feel like each level really has weight to it because you care about the outcome of the story. The multiplayer was a really fun experience with a lot of fun weapons to use. And there are a lot of really cool gadgets to use that are useful in progressing through the levels. The different difficulty settings are appropriately scaled and the additional objectives on the harder difficulty settings are really satisfying to complete. All in all, this is a really solid 007 game and a great introduction to the series.

2. Goldeneye 007 (1997)

Alright, I know that you are probably thinking I lose all credibility by ranking this game 2nd. What can I even say about Goldeneye and how influential it was as a FPS title? This is a game that brought the genre to home consoles and did it with a bang. Goldeneye offers a fun and challenging campaign that follows the movie really closely.

But what most people probably remember about Goldeneye, is the multiplayer. The N64 gave players the chance to play local multiplayer with 4 players. This gave many people a lot of fun memories with friends. And the local split-screen multiplayer would go on to define the next console generation with games like Halo.

When people think of James Bond video games, the first game they probably think of is Goldeneye. It is such an iconic game and for good reason. This is definitely a great introduction for people to the series. The only thing preventing it from being number 1 on the list is that the controls have aged. This was before modern dual stick FPS controls so it takes some getting used to if you pick it up today.

1. Nightfire (2002)

My absolute favorite Bond game is Nightfire. This game took everything good about the 007 games from the previous console generation and improved them. The campaign in this game is a classic ridiculous James Bond plot (complete with a giant space laser). But every level in this game is fun and engaging. There is such a good mix of action packed FPS gameplay and stealthy gameplay.

This story of this game was written just for the game, but it really feels like it could be a movie. Some of the levels can be completed in multiple ways and you really feel like a spy when you can successfully get through a level while causing minimal damage.

If you thought the multiplayer in Goldeneye was fun, then this game will blow you away. There are multiple fun game modes and tons of classic Bond characters to choose from. The maps are some of my favorite multiplayer maps in the entire series. And this game has my favorite selection of Q-Branch gadgets to use.

I love the 007 games and these are just a few of my favorites. I really wish that game studios would have continued to regularly make quality Bond games. It has been a while since there has been a really good 007 game. To me, Nightfire is the best game in the series and the perfect introduction to the series for someone who has never played one of these games.

Game Discussion

How Ocarina of Time Taught me Courage

After just revisiting The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo Switch Online service, I have been thinking about the strange atmosphere of this game. In general, I am blown away at how well this game has aged. The dungeon design is intricate, yet easily navigatable. The pacing, in my opinion, is nearly perfect. It is really satisfying to acquire each new piece of gear and all of the equipment retains its usefulness through the whole game.

But the biggest thing that stands out to me is the atmosphere… The atmosphere of every Zelda game seems to be pretty unique to that specific game, but something about the magic of Ocarina of Time sticks out to me. I still remember being a kid and watching my older brother make his way through this game for hours. When I would finally have the chance to pick up and play the game for myself I would sit in wonder as I ran across Hyrule and talked to all of the colorful characters.

One of the things about the atmosphere of Ocarina of Time is that, compared to other games in the series, there is a lot of creatures and settings that are more on the dark and macabre side of things. When I first picked up this game as a kid, whenever I would have to run across Hyrule Field I would try to get where I needed to go as quickly as possible so that I wouldn’t be caught on the field at night. Once the sun goes down, the Stalchildren rise from the ground and attack you. We don’t really know what the Stalchildren are, but the assumption is that they are the dead who were killed during the Hyrulean Civil War that is only mentioned vaguely in the game.

The Stalchildren were just the first of many grotesque creatures that I encountered playing this game as a child. Once Link retrieves the Master Sword and is transported 7 years into the future, the world of Hyrule has been mostly destroyed. After those 7 years, you encounter many more scary creatures and what was once a vibrant world has turned dark. The Redeads and Dead Hand used to terrify me.

I specifically remember that I was to afraid to play certain parts of the game while I was alone. When I had to go down the well in Kakariko Village, I would have to prepare myself. I would either have to play it with family members in the room or I would only play it during the day when the sun was out.

And then later on in the game when you have to go to the Shadow Temple, I would go into the Shadow Temple just to get the Hover Boots and then I would go straight to the Spirit Temple. I would do this to so I could put off the Shadow Temple as long as I possibly could. Everything about this dungeon creeped me out. The music, the enemies, and the design of the dungeon all terrified me.

But with all of that being said, because the story was so engaging and the game progression was so satisfying, I was able to challenge all of those fears. From the time I was 6 years old I would play this game and challenge all of the things that scared me about it. I was taught what being courageous meant. Because of Link and the Hero’s Journey that he was on, I felt compelled to face my fears and conquer his enemies. I learned at that young age that there are things that are worth fighting for. There are things that are worth sacrificing for. This is something that I have taken with me into adult hood. There are things worth facing your fears for.

Game Discussion News

Is Goldeneye N64 Coming to Nintendo Switch Online?

The Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack launched last week and customers have not been shy about voicing their opinions. The N64 emulator that Nintendo built for the Switch has been having a lot of issues. The games are all playable, but are experiencing graphical glitches and slowdown at times. Not to mention the strange button layout that the application forces on you without providing a way to remap the buttons.

But in spite of all of that, we are all still curious about what other games could be added to the service down the road. There have already been some great titles confirmed. Among them are Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask and Banjo Kazooie. The inclusion of Banjo Kazooie surprised people because Rare, the studio that developed the game, is now owned by Microsoft. People have been under the assumption that either Nintendo and Microsoft wouldn’t be willing to work together or Nintendo wouldn’t be willing to put the effort in work something out with Microsoft. Needless to say, Banjo Kazooie is a welcome addition, and it has people excited about other possible additions from Rare.

The thing about the N64 library is that there are a lot of good games made by other dev studios like Rare, and there a lot of good games that would run into heavy licensing issues if they were to be rereleased. The big game that everyone wants to come to the Switch Online Service is 007 Goldeneye. This was a great game that was not only made by Rare, but also based on a movie. There are multiple actor’s likenesses used in the game. Typically that would mean that its more trouble than its worth to release the game again and have to deal with all the licensing fees. It is for this reason that everyone has assumed that Goldeneye will not make its way to Switch Online.

However, there is a recent clue that suggests that we may all be wrong. When Goldeneye was released, it was banned in Germany. It was placed on a list of Media that is considered harmful to minors. Generally, after 25 years, these pieces of media are subject to automatic review. It was just announced that Goldeneye is officially unbanned in Germany. The thing is… that its only been 24 years since the game’s release. This would lead us to believe that Nintendo requested a review of the situation. The only reason they would do that ahead of its automatic review next year is if they are planning on doing something with the game.

We don’t really have any idea what Nintendo could be planning for Goldeneye. Is there a remaster in the works? It is probably safest to assume that Goldeneye may end up coming to the Switch Online N64 library after all. Maybe that is why the Expansion Pack price was priced higher than everyone expected. Maybe Nintendo is paying licensing fees. This is no guarantee, but it is potentially a good sign.


Leaked Photos of HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’ Series

HBO announced last year that they were taking on production of a series based the popular The Last of Us game developed by Naughty Dog. The game was released in 2013 and now 8 years later, we get to see it adapted to the big screen.

Starring Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey and Gabriel Luna, the story follows the character Joel who is tasked with taking a young girl named Ellie across multiple states. Oh yeah, and this takes place 20 years after a massive fungal infection outbreak that more-or-less turns the infected into zombies. Having to dodge infected and violent organizations, Joel has to do what he can to help stop the spread and maybe reverse the outbreak.

The game details how the spread of this virus has to do with fungal growth. And the infected people look more and more like fungus at as the infection takes hold of their brain. In these leaked pictures, you can see the actors standing amidst fungal growth. The game is packed full of intense action and horror elements so I’m sure we will see both of those things present in the show.