Not Another Boring White Dude: Saving the World as My Wife in Astral Chain

Ever since the original The Legend of Zelda let you name your save file, I've been trying to live out some world saving fantasies by making myself in video games. I've prevented the utter destruction of humanity countless times in the Final Fantasy series. I've braved the barren nuclear wasteland of Fallout. Even the virtual sports world has been utterly dominated by the 5'4" wunderkind known as Terry Kennair - fearless, boring-ass, tiny, bearded white dude.

Control: The Good, the Bad, and the Bureaucracy

Control, the latest release from the makers of Max Payne and Alan Wake, Remedy Entertainment, is one of the most unique games I have ever played. It's at the same time unlike anything I've experienced before and a glorious amalgamation of all the best parts of classic games like Metroid, Half-life, Resident Evil, and Bioshock distilled into their purest forms. Here's everything that stood out during my 20 or so hours touring the halls of the Federal Bureau of Control and investigating "altered world events" with the help of some telekinetic powers.

The Wonder of Super Metroid 25 Years Later

There's something undeniably magical about every time I step into the well traveled bounty hunter boots of Samus Aran in the SNES Classic Super Metroid. Whether it was the awe of 9 year-old me experiencing the massive world for the first time or the nostalgic joy and appreciation of journeying through Zebes for the 12th or so time 25 years later, I never stop smiling when immersed in this world. That first time playing it, I knew it was something special, but looking back now after over two decades of games that have emulated the perfection crafted by Nintendo, it's still crystal clear why this title changed the gaming world as we know it and launched a thousand Metroidvanias.

Learning Important Life Lessons From Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Thursday, July 25th was the first time I freaked out about becoming a dad. This was a most curious development coming at essentially the halfway mark of our pregnancy given that my MO as an adult has been swimming in a vast ocean of anxiety. Somehow for four and a half months, I had managed … Continue reading Learning Important Life Lessons From Fire Emblem: Three Houses

The Most Fun Characters in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 has no right to be as addicting and sleep depriving-ly fun as it is. At its heart, it's very much a mid-2000's game in the same vein as the previous entry in the series that released 13 long years ago with all its button-mashing glory. Thanks to a ton of charm and the ability to pair up the most popular heroes in the world like never before, the grind transforms from a chore into a pure delight. You'll find yourself spending countless hours running through Inifinity Trials to power up your favorite heroes, so you can unleash them on Thanos and the Black Order. It's all the best parts of those RPG character collecting mobile games like Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes combined with the robust action of a Diablo taken to an unholy new level of corporate super hero synergy. Now, to help you figure out where you should be pooling those hours of character progression, here is my handy list of the Most Fun Characters in the game.

Am I an Asshole? A Comprehensive Study of Super Mario Maker 2

I swear I'm not an asshole, but the levels I keep coming up with in Super Mario Maker 2 seem to be conspiring to prove the opposite point about me. Given my propensity for trying to build my own video games and love of the greatest bros in the history of the world, Mario and Luigi, pre-ordering the latest Mario level builder was the easiest decision I've ever had to make. Immediately after getting home the Friday night that it released, I tore into the Story Mode hoping to learn all about the intricacies of what makes a truly great Mario course. Two days later, with the Story Mode complete, I was primed and ready to start creating my first world. That's when I started to notice something odd about my level building. That's when it started to dawn on me that I might just be an asshole.

Counting Down the 10 Most Charming and Joyful Things in Cadence of Hyrule

Cadence of Hyrule, the new Zelda-spinoff rhythm game, is basically 1000 smiles distilled into their purest form and injected directly into your brain. It is the most charming, utterly pleasant, and breathtakingly unique game I have played in quite some time. Without further adieu, let's count down the Top 10 things that make this gem basically a puppy party in game form.

Championships, Dislocated Shoulders, and Trade Demands: My Road to the Show Part 2

Read Part One of our very special series Season One Continued - My First Taste of October Baseball (2020) Any initial nerves surrounding my Major League debut had long subsided. Following a successful first half of my initial tour of the bigs, I emerged rejuvenated and ready to dominate heading out of what I hoped … Continue reading Championships, Dislocated Shoulders, and Trade Demands: My Road to the Show Part 2

Metroid Feline 4: Gato Roboto

Did you ever wonder if your favorite games could be improved by replacing the main character with an adorable feline protagonist? The answer is probably "No", but with Gato Roboto, the latest entry from doinksoft and Devolver Digital, I managed to learn that this indeed was something missing from my life thanks to the spot on homage to Super Metroid combined with the nostalgic visual simplicity and delight of a Game Boy title. Don't mistake this for the many hybrid Metroidvanias populating the gaming world these days. This is the closest you will come to another straight up Metroid title without booting up one of your retro systems.

Pwned and Operated Studios Rides Again: Super Bash Bros.

For the past 9 months or so, I've been looking for inspiration to work on building my own game again. While I have been spending unhealthy amount of times playing anything and everything in sight trying to figure out what game development lessons I could learn (sure, let's call it that), I needed to find the motivation to put my now very dusty coding hat back on and start building my own worlds. Finally, back in February I went to visit my sister and her family to celebrate the birth of my newest nephew, Q. During this trip, his older brother, Bash, and I had the ultimate gaming sleepover playing NES Classic and SNES Classic until 1 A.M. which was far far past my bed time but not his since he was absolutely entranced by the old school action unfolding before him. With his sixth birthday fast approaching and his love of video games growing by the day, the path to my next game was clear. I'd spend the next several months building him his own personal Super Mario and hopefully ruin all future birthday presents.