*Four weeks until the new consoles arrive*
In just 30 days we’ll have two BRAND NEW consoles to tinker with. Are you excited? Have you placed a pre-order for either of them? BOTH of them? Are you going to camp outside of a Best Buy so you can pick one up at the stroke of midnight? Well, you have four weeks to think about it, until then why not play some IRL Mario Kart.
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit (Switch) – Releases Oct. 16th
Nintendo is in a class all its own. While Microsoft and Sony chase faster processing speed and higher resolutions, the Big N does whatever it wants to. While their ideas aren’t always home runs, they’re always a delightful breath of fresh air in an industry that can often feel stagnant and one note. In Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, Nintendo dives once again into the realm of augmented reality, merging the real world with digital supplements. Using cardboard gates, similar to something you’d see in a Labo kit, players will create a course in a real world space where they can control an actual R.C. style racing kart, with either Mario or Luigi as the driver. The built in camera charts the course, which can be anything from a simple oval, to more complex shapes (finally, the Nürburgring can be in Mario Kart), allowing you to race head to head against a friend, or in a grand prix with the Koopalings. With all of us still stuck inside for the foreseeable future, this could be a delightful weekend diversion.
G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Oct. 13th
With 2020 being, roughly, 35 years removed from the height of their popularity, you might be wondering why we’re getting a brand new G.I. Joe video game this week. Well, remember those G.I. Joe movies from the late 00’s/early 10’s? We were supposed to get a new one this year. In fact, not just this year, but this WEEK, until COVID happened. Suffice to say, the movie has been delayed until next year, but sometimes the wheel is going too fast to stop everything, which is likely why we’re still getting a new video game based on the Joe’s. This third person action/adventure game has you taking part in two campaigns, one as G.I. Joe and the other as Cobra. For those of you who want to relive your childhood playdates, you can also play story missions with your friends through online co-op, or partake in a variety of online multiplayer game modes. Help computer!
Torchlight III (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Oct. 13th (Switch TBA)
Already released on PC through Steam Early Access, the full game is now finished and ready for release. With a somewhat rocky development that saw the departure of several members of the original team, this latest entry in the Torchlight franchise has a lot to prove. Good luck to everyone at Echtra Games.
Onee Chanbara Origin (PC/PS4) – Releases Oct. 14th
There’s not a lot of middle ground here, you either like the Onee Chanbara games, or you don’t. With the “Origin” subtitle, you’d expect there to be some kind of story here, but let’s be honest, people don’t read Playboy for the articles and they don’t play Onee Chanbara for the deep lore.
Jackbox Party Pack 7 (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Oct. 15th
The fabulous Jackbox Party Pack franchise is a game night staple for many people, so it’s good to see that the development team is still pumping out new content for it, particularly in this time of COVID. With five games to choose from, Quiplash 3, The Devils and the Details, Champ’d Up, Talking Points, and Blather Round, prepare your funniest fart jokes that are sure to make your parents wonder why they risked death to come over and play “the Nintendo” with you.
Leisure Suit Larry – Wet Dreams Dry Twice (PC) – Releases Oct. 15th
Speaking of fart jokes…and dick jokes…and sexual orientation jokes…and pee jokes…and more dick jokes, here’s the latest Leisure Suit Larry game, Wet Dreams Dry Twice. I’m not sure who was asking for more of this franchise, Larry is a relic whose shtick was already played out in the 90’s. Still, if you’re feeling kitschy, this might be a fun little romp…JUST LIKE HAVING SEX WITH LARRY. Bazinga.
Zoids: Wild Blast Unleashed (Switch) – Releases Oct. 15th
Hey look, another long defunct toy line is suddenly making a comeback in 2020; Zoids! Remember Zoids? Sure you do, your grandma probably bought you a couple for Xmas 15 years ago. They’re robot animals that like to beat each other up, it’s so sick you guys.
Ports and Re-releases:
Prinny 1+2 (Switch) – Releases Oct. 13th
Originally released for the PSP in 2009 and 2011, the Disgaea spin-off’s Prinny 1+2 are now heading to Switch to delight a whole new audience. Unlike the Disgaea games, Prinny 1+2 is a side scrolling platformer where you are given 1000 lives in your attempt to beat the game. It’s silly and sadistic, prefect for the entire family.
Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition (PC) – Releases Oct. 15th
Featuring updated graphics and gameplay, AoE III: DE features all of the content from the original release, all of the DLC, and even some new surprises!
Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Director’s Cut (Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Oct. 15th
Ten after it originally released on the Nintendo DS, and more than a few years after it was re-released on several other platforms, the action platformer Shantae: Risky’s Revenge is making its way to Switch and Xbox One. When her uncle’s prized relic is stolen by pirates, Shantae must go on a journey to recover it, and restore her reputation in the process.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Minecraft Steve (Switch) – Releases Oct. 13th
Well, this is happening.
Nioh 2: Darkness in the Capital (PS4) – Releases Oct. 15th
I’m stoked to see more Nioh 2 content, as it is one of 2020’s best games. Cut from the same cloth as Dark Souls and Sekiro, the game is actually much more forgiving than both of those. Still, there’s a tough challenge ahead but, if you can stick with it and master the combat, there are some wonderfully rewarding moments to be had with this title.
NHL 21 (PS4/XBone) – Releases Oct. 13th
NHL ’94 Rewind (PS4/XBone) – Releases Oct. 13th
Remothered: Broken Porcelain (PC/PS4/XBone) – Releases Oct. 13th
Robotics;Notes Double Pack (PC/PS4/Switch) – Releases Oct. 13th
Partisans 1941 (PC) – Releases Oct. 14th
Re:Turn – One Way Trip (PC/PS4/Switch/XBone) – Releases Oct. 14th
Cake Bash (PC/PS4/Stadia/XBone) – Releases Oct. 15th
This Is The Zodiac Speaking (PC/PS4/Switch/XBone) – Releases Oct. 15th
9 Monkeys of Shaolin (PC/PS4/Switch/XBone) – Releases Oct. 16th
Notable Releases from 10, 20, and 30 years ago:
Fallout: New Vegas (PC/PS3/Xbox 360) – Released Oct. 19th, 2010: Wiki Link
Following on the success of 2008’s Fallout 3, Bethesda was eager to cash in on their latest hit franchise. Still, the prospect for a Fallout 4 was still some years away, particularly with Todd Howard and his team deep in production on the upcoming Skyrim, Bethesda reached out Obsidian, made up of many of the original Fallout’s creative team, to work on this spin-off title. Director Josh Sawyer and writer John Gonzalez took a lot of inspiration from their cancelled version of Fallout 3, known by many as “Van Buren“, including the west coast setting, the war between the NCR and the Brotherhood of Steel, and some of the factions, including the sadistic Caesar’s Legion. While Bethesda rejected Obsidian’s idea to set the title between Fallout 2 and 3, they were supportive of the move out west and the decision to place the game in, and around, Las Vegas, Nevada. Completed in a relatively short 18 months, Obsidian titled their game New Vegas, and while it used the same engine as Fallout 3, it had several small tweaks that made the game a bit more user friendly, including the addition of iron sights on guns. When it released, New Vegas was well received by critics due to it’s gameplay improvements over Fallout 3 and it’s entertaining and endlessly satisfying world that seemed to contain troves and troves of content to find. Despite this, the game was knocked for it’s large amount of bugs and crashes; par for the course on most Bethesda published games. Some of the crashes were so bad that retailers started to see customers coming back and demanding refunds, prompting Bethesda to issue a statement apologizing for the mess, and telling players that a patch was on the way and that they should stop returning their copies to the store. On a personal level, I think New Vegas is a HUGE improvement on Fallout 3. As much as I loved that game, there’s something about New Vegas that feels special. Maybe it’s because I’m intimately familiar with Las Vegas and the surrounding areas (every town in the game is a real place in Nevada), or maybe it’s because I like westerns, but honestly, I think the game just has a better story and characters. The factions are memorable, as are the quests you’re given. I absolutely LOVE the retro-futuristic aesthetics, which are played much bigger in this game compared to Fallout 3 (Obsidian would continue this trend with The Outer Worlds), and it’s DLC is some of the best pieces of short form storytelling that video games have to offer. If you have a PC then New Vegas is easily available for purchase through digital storefronts, and if you add a few mods it can look even more gorgeous than it already did. While Fallout 4 would go back to Todd Howard and his team, Obsidian would jump back into this genre with 2019’s The Outer Worlds, and with Microsoft now owning both Obsidian and Bethesda, it might not be such a stretch to think that they might be able to dip their toes back into the Fallout world. We’ll see…
Pokemon Gold and Silver (Game Boy Color) – Released Oct. 15th, 2000: Wiki Link
One year before Pokemon Red and Blue even hit North America, Nintendo was showing off Gold and Silver to a fanatic Japanese public. Instead of making a direct sequel featuring a new adventure with the same character and creatures, developer Game Freak created 100 new Pokemon for the game, crafted an entirely new region, and had the game star a new main character. Set in the Jhoto region, players choose one of three different Pokemon and set out on a journey to collect badges and become regional champion. Afterwards, in a bit of a surprise move, players are then transported to the Kanto region from Red and Blue where they can challenge those gym leaders, and finally face off against Red (or Ash/Satoshi), to become the ultimate Pokemon champion. While the main story is roughly the same, there were changes made in Gold and Silver, including the ability for Pokemon to hold items, a real-time internal clock that changed the game’s time of day and the wild Pokemon that appeared, as well as a phone that allowed players to be called up by previous rivals in order to do battle. Reception to the game was as good, or better, than the reception to Blue and Red. Critics were pleased with the new changes, including giving Pokemon the ability to breed, and were happy to see that it took full advantage of the Game Boy Color’s graphical power. Just like with Red and Blue, critics and players were once again hooked on trying to catch every single new Pokemon that Gold and Silver had to offer, and search they did, because by the end of the decade, Gold and Silver had sold a combined 23 million copies. Like they did with Yellow, Nintendo and Game Freak released a follow-up title a few months later, calling it Crystal. It too was a smash success and showed that the public had no intention to stop playing these games, but could it last??? Well, it’s 2020, and we have new Pokemon DLC coming out next week; what do you think?
Dr. Mario (NES) – Released Oct. 14th, 1990: Wiki Link
I’m sure you, like me, immediately hear very specific music and sounds when you see the above image. Some games are so iconic, and their every beep and boop so recognizable, that you instantly know what it is. Dr. Mario is one of the greatest puzzle games ever made, period. Co-created by legendary developer Gunpei Yokoi, and talented programmer Takahiro Harada (Super Mario Land, Metroid II), Dr. Mario was a welcome addition to the puzzle game genre, and allowed Nintendo to have their own major puzzle game franchise (remember, although they published Tetris, they did not own it). Releasing first for the NES, Dr. Mario was a vibrant, hyper active jolt in the pants to the somewhat subdued puzzle genre. Featuring infectious tunes from chip tune pioneer Hirokazu Tanaka and over the top art, the game was an audio/visual feast. In case you’ve somehow never managed to play Dr. Mario, the game plays as follows: players are shown a rectangular playing field that is filled with red, blue, and yellow viruses. Dr. Mario throws colored capsules into the play field and players must manipulate them in order to create match lines of four. Once these four are matched they will disappear, and if you happen to fill your line with one of the viruses, they disappear too. If you are able to clear the entire playing field of the viruses before your pills reach the top, you pass the level and move on. It’s simple, quick, and can be incredibly competitive in two player mode. Dr. Mario is a Nintendo staple and has been ported and re-made for just about every Nintendo console that exists, from a Game Boy version released in December, 1990, to being most recently included on the Switch through the NES App. Personally, I am rather fond of the N64 version that features a story mode (I KNOW!), and was the sight of many fierce battles between me and my girlfriend when she moved into her first apartment. It’s always fun seeing these all-time classics appear in the column because you can look at exactly where things forever changed. One day Dr. Mario didn’t exist, and then the next day “Fever” and “Chill” were being blasted from bedrooms and basements across the world. Video games, and pop culture, have a power in our lives, no matter how silly they may seem sometimes. They are an integral part of the human experience, and for many of us they denote key markers in our own personal timelines, instantly transporting us to another time and space. Don’t ever forget that.
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