SNES and 3DS – my favorite consoles

The SNES and the 3DS are my favorite video game systems of all time. And here’s why.

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A Link to the Past

The SNES was a huge part of my childhood, so nostalgia certainly plays a huge part in it. I can’t even tell you how many hours we siblings raced each other in Super Mario Kart and how often I failed to complete this one stage in Donkey Kong Country 2 where the green glibber of death raises – spoiler: every single time. It was much, much later when I first completed DKC2 and despite all of that, it’s one of my favorite games period.

We used to rent games in a video game store, back in the day when you still went and rented movies and games and loved this old grey box so much, we completely skipped the entire N64 era. It was on the Gamecube that I was first introduced to my favorite video game franchise: The Legend of Zelda. I have to admit I missed many classics of the early 3D-era, but I also played a lot of amazing classics from the 32bit-era. Hands down, the SNES arguably has one of the greatest libraries of any video game system and I think it’s a shame Europe never saw Chrono Trigger on SNES. I played it on DS later and it still rocks.

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Donkey Kong Country 2

This is one of the reasons I hold the SNES higher than the N64: a lot of games from that era still hold up exceptionally well today: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Yoshi’s Island, just to name a few. The system is full of cold classics you can just turn on today and they’re just as great.

This doesn’t mean the N64 doesn’t have games you can still enjoy today, but since 3D gaming was still new, developers had to work out a lot of stuff and every single game from that time looks ugly today. Replaying N64 games today, they don’t really feel all that special anymore compared to back then. It was such an exciting time to live in – even if you didn’t have the console (my friends had, though). Ocarina of Time is my absolute favorite game of all time and it’s still great today, but people playing it today for the first time don’t really get why we old fans are praising it so much. Go and play Chrono Tigger – you’ll know why it’s considered one of the greatest JRPGs ever made. The N64 was a pioneer, though. It was a time when gaming changed a lot and that’s why the early 3D-systems are so important.

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Ocarina of Time

Jump forward and I kind of lost my gaming drive along the way. I did play some Wii and some Gameboy Advance and also a bit on the DS, but not as much as I could have. I also borrowed my brothers PS2, but it’s all just some minor time kill. All these systems had great games, but I simply lost interest in gaming for a while. This is where the 3DS comes into play and if there’s one thing I regret, it’s that I bought it a few months too early. Not because of the games and everyone thought it would fail, but because I bought it for Ocarina of Time 3D in June and later that year they released an OoT special edition 3DS – and I really, REALLY wanted that, but couldn’t bring myself to buying a second system so early. Maybe I should have.

And boy was Ocarina of Time 3D a great game. The enhancements they did with the new system worked great. OoT 3D is the best version of OoT you can find. I just love this game to death and in that regard the 3DS delivered what I expected. With my favorite game back in my hands all fresh and new, my love for video games was triggered once again.

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Animal Crossing New Leaf

I admit I did have trouble finding decent games for the 3DS early in it’s life and ended up with some more obscure titles such as Rabbids 3D out of sheer lack of choices, but once the big games hit, man was it a great experience: Pokemon Gen VI, Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, Fire Emblem Awakening, Fantasy Life, Persona Q, Bravely Default, Animal Crossing New Leaf, Zelda OoT 3D and MM 3D, Luigi’s Mansion 2, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate – and the list goes on! I have 30+ games for my 3DS and yes, I ended up buying the Link between Worlds 3DS XL special edition. Did I regret it? No, because even though my original 3DS was still working, the bigger screen makes it so much better.

Once I have the money for it, I will buy The Legend of Legacy and Stellar Glow is also on my list. There’s Steam World Heist I still want to get and Bravely Second will find it’s way into my claws day 1, I promise! Bravely Default was my favorite game of that year and I can’t wait to play the sequel – of course I downloaded the demo. With Mighty No.9 and

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Bravely Default

Dragon Quest XI, there’s even more great games on the horizon. I do admit I will pass on  Fire Emblem Fates. FE Awakening was an amazing game, but I’m not that much of a tactical JRPG fan.

In the end, it was the 3DS that made me buy a Wii U. It’s a shame it didn’t take off the same way the 3DS did and it still struggles with content, because it’s a great console and the Gamepad makes gaming so much better in so many ways. The few games I have for that system are amazing, though: Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, Rayman Legends, Bayonetta 1+2, Captain Toad (I’m not kidding, it’s surprisingly good!), Xenoblade Chronicles X, Smash Bros 4, Splatoon, MH3U, Mario Maker and even though Yarn Yoshi can’t really compete with the “three big” Platformers on the Wii U (Mario 3D World, DKC TF & Rayman), it’s still worth to play. Let alone the awesome Virtual Consoles games: Metroid Prime trilogy? Super Metroid? A Link to the Past? Count me in!

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Luigi’s Mansion 2

In the end, the SNES has a special place in my heart, because it introduced me into gaming and the 3DS has an equally special place in my heart, because it brought me back to gaming. And the games are just too damn great to resist. 😀 There are countless of rumors about Nintendos NX, but I would prefer if a handheld version would wait a little longer, so I can enjoy more new games on my beloved 3DS.

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Game of the Year

With only a few hours left in 2015, let’s finish up the last countdown and crown my personal game of the year, I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise, but let’s go through the games I played this year. Mind you, I usually play Nintendo consoles.

Captain-Toad-Treasure-Tracker-Buu-HuuStarting in January, the first game of the year was Captain Toad Treasure Tracker. I really liked the Captain Toad mini puzzles in Mario 3D World, so I was looking forward to this game. I wasn’t super hyped, because Captain Toad was just going to be a collection of small puzzles. What I eventually got was much better than that, though. Sure, it was a collection of puzzle-levels, but with so much diversity and Nintendo’s well known love for detail, they delivered a highly polished super cute and fun game.

In February came Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate for the Nintendo 3DS and there’s really not that much to say about it, besides: it’s Monster Hunter, of course it’s awesome! It’s one big boss battle after the other. It’s super satisfying and you can pump hundreds of hours into this game. While I’m not a super big fan of the franchise, I still spent quite a few hours with this game.

Also in February on the same day as Monster Hunter, came Majora’s Mask 3D. Another game I don’t need to talk about much: it’s Majora’s Mask, of course it’s awesome! It’s basically the same deal as it was with Ocarina of Time, the game looks better and the second screen adds a lot to the experience. As I called OoT 3D the definite version of OoT, the same goes for MM 3D.

That’s what I call a good start into the year, but in April, we’re continuing 81i6RyFBD8L._SL1500_with Splatoon for Wii U. Nintendo’s brand new squitastic multiplayer online shooter proved to be a huge hit. While the inital reactions were mixed about this colorful, cartoonish turf-war shooter that only came with minimal gameplay at launch and added more free content to this day, turned out to be massively fun. When you think about it: it’s made by Nintendo, of course it’s going to be fun, but a lot of people doubted Nintendo can pull off an online multiplayer shooter – and rightly so. However, not only did they pull it off, they delivered the one shooter this year, that challenged genre standarts and created a new look on shooters as a whole.

yoshi0608151280jpg-b57a7e_1280wIn June follows Yoshi’s Woolly World. After Yoshi’s New Island I was a bit concerned if they can actually still make good Yoshi platformers, as the afromentioned game was nothing but dull. Rest assured, Yoshi’s Woolly World is a great game. It doesn’t challenge the greatness of Yoshi’s Island, but it’s a very solid platformer with lot’s of collectables and diverse levels to explore. The highlight of the game are the woolly graphics, though. It looks super cute with great attention to detail and I love unlocking new skins by collecting yarn in the levels. I admit this game does not come close to the picture perfect Mario 3D World, the crazy fun that is Rayman Legends, or the masterful challenge in Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze. It is, however, a very solid and cute platformer certainly worth a try for everyone who likes the genre.

The year goes on and September came with the long awaited Mario level SMM-3creation kit called Super Mario Maker. It’s very intuitive and easy to get used to. After a few updates added much needed checkpoints and some additional items, this game only got better. It’s amazing to see what brilliant levels some of the fans have created, but unfortunately for every good level, there’s at least 10 bad ones. This was to be expected, so it’s not really fair to critizise the game for it. Not everyone is a platform designer and not everyone needs to be. The game delivers what it promises: an easy to use kit for 2D jump and run levels.

As for my last game this year came Xenoblade Chronicles X in December. I waited so long for this game, I even got myself the limited edition even though I’m supposed to keep by money together right now. I loved Xenoblade Chronicles and a spiritual successor made by the same developers sounds just too good to be true. XCX turned out to be very

Xenoblade Chronicles X

different from XC and even though the story is lacking a bit, the game makes up for it in other departments. This is the one game this year, I would say, gave me a feeling of “epic”. She sheer fact this huge and beautiful game exists on the underpowered Wii U and runs as good as it does even without the enhancement packs, is an achievement of epic proportions in itself. The world of Mira is simply breathtaking, every time I look around myself I’m impressed by my surroundings and every time I walk into a new continent I’m stuck in awe. However, pretty surroundings don’t make a good game, so what else do we have? An admittedly complicated and deep combat system that works extreamly well once you have it down. It’s not always easy and it may take a while to get used to it, but it’s so worth it. The combat system in XCX is brilliant. And after about 30 hours you’re allowed to pilot your own mecha, which completely changes your view on the world you’re living in. Just don’t expect the game to hold your hand, because it doesn’t. It explains the bare minimum and expects you to figure out the rest yourself.

Which games will be my game of 2015? Judging by the lenght of the post, XCX has to be it, but I was actually a bit torn between Splatoon and XCX. Splatoon was a huge surprise hit for me and ended up challenging what we understand as a shooter. Not only is it a fun game for the player, it’s also a game that pushes the entire genre forward. In an industry where taking the safe route is a very common practice, having games that purposely go against these industry standarts is even more so important.

Unfortunately for Splatoon however, this is my GOTY 2015 and not the Xenoblade-Chronicles-X_09intdustry’s, so I have to go with the game I simply enjoyed the most and that was XCX. I was easily able to play though 50+ hours while spending every second of free time I had on this game during the first two weeks I had it. I’m still not fed up with this game and I totally see myself comming back – I still need to finish the stroy after all and swear I will finish it. I expected the game to be good and it absolutely delivered. It was different from what I expected, but hit all the right spots.

Getting a Skell in XCX

A huge part of the advertisement of Xenoblade Chronicles X revolved around the skells – one is even on the box art of the game. It’s a key element of the game and truth to be told, a huge customizable mech is always cool.

In some reviews by experts and fans alike, you will hear people complain about the skells, though. Not the mech itself, that thing is incredibly cool, it’s usually about when and how you get the skell.

WVW69ipmjLwrc60xNjHere’s the deal: After you’ve completed story mission 6, you are free to take on the skell-licence-mission. Only after you’ve completed this mission, you are allowed to pilot your first own skell. On the average, you can expect to reach this point in the game around the 30 hour mark, personally it took me 37 hours to get my hands on my first first skell (and 5 hours to get it destroyed) and that is only because I was able to complete the licence-mission very fast. I’m pretty slow otherwise, though.

The licence-mission asks you to clear a mission from every division, so it’s 8 small missions to complete the entire thing. I was lucky ernough to have already completed 2 missions beforehand and thanks to an affinity mission I did just before, I also knew where the rare item was I was required to find in one of the 8 division mini-missions.

So, in other words, to get your hands on one of the key features of the game, you have to play half the game and then do a long and arguably very annoying mission before. And a lot of people don’t like this.

However, here’s my take on this: the skells are awesome, but they change your entire look on Mira. Walking on foot, you’re constantly in awe looking at this huge beautiful world. In a skell it’s suddenly a lot faster and easier to travel around on Mira, essentially making the world smaller. It also takes away the threat out of big monsters. You’re not overpowered, but a skell still helps a lot with bigger enemies and increases your power by a few leaps. You’re able to take on higher leveled monsters you were sneaking around just a second ago.

By having you play so many hours before even giving you the chance to get your skell-licence and then make you work through a long mission until you finally get your hands on one, makes the skell in itself a huge reward. You have to work really hard for this thing and it feels incredible when you finally have it.

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Now, imagine you had access to your skell since the first mission. The world you’ve been exploring with big admiring eyes, would’ve never been as breathtaking as without the skell and you would have probably just walked past a lot of details that otherwise strike the eye. Also, the skell is too strong for the early part of the game, it would make you progress too fast. This is a very long game, it’s meant to be explored just the way you want to and by rushing through everything in a big badass skell, you’re going to miss out on a lot.

Personally, I think it was a very good decision to lock the skell away in the early game, because it makes the game too easy and after having to wait and work hard, the skell is a great reward for the player. After he experienced the game for about 30 hours on foot, the skell suddenly opens up an entirely new side to the planet. How is this not awesome?

Nintendo Direct November 2015

Ok, let’s make it short, so I can come to the point and of course when it comes to Nintendo, my main reason of concern is Zelda, because Zelda.

Now, what do I actually still remember? Pokken Tournament comming to Wii U and actually commung to the west as well. Awesome, I was waiting for that. I mean, you’re battling all the time in Pokemon anyway and the anime kind of shows how awesome dynamic fights can work with this franchise. Super hyped for this.

And speaking of Pokemon, yay for Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon. I know Gates to Infinity isn’t excatly the best entry in the franchise, but it was still reasonably fun and I’m looking forward to more Pokemon Mystery Dungeon. =)

With Fast Racing Neo looking that awesome, I highly doubt we’ll ever see a true F-Zero ever again. However, seeing two DLC F-Zero themed MK8 DLC stages, I was doubting they’re actually considering developing a full game. The two MK8 stages were compensatory fanservice.

Cloud comming to Smash. Well… ok. Some people are acting all surprised, but seriously, Nintendo and Square Enix have a very long and successfull relationship with each other. While Final Fanatsy is no longer relased on Nintendo consoles, other Square Enix franchises are, like Dragon Quest and Bravely Default (an excellent old school Final Fanatsy-esque JRPG). I don’t think it’s that weird to have a Square Enix Character on Smash and Cloud is arguably the most memorable one.

Pokémon Red/Blue/Yellow for virtual console. And the internet goes “Boom!”. I’m still impressed how many people are so extreamly nostalgia driven for these games. Sure, it has a sweet spot in my heart as well, but some of the old battle/gameplay mechanics are so horrible, especially when you’re used to the new games. People can hate on the new games all they want, but the gameplay, battles and competitive play have improved a lot over the generations. I mean, you couldn’t breed, only very few moves were available back then, special attack and defense were combined in just one “special” ability, the classification in special and physical attacks was completely different, competitive play was nowhere near what ne know today and the entire game was crazy unbalanced with massively overpowered psychic and dragon type pokemon. And that’s just the tip of the ice berg. I love the Gen I games as well, but I don’t run around with pink nostalgia googles all the time when it comes to Pokémon.

More Xenoblade Chronices X stuff. I don’t care I need to save money, I need this game. And since I’m planning on buying the disc version, thanks for giving me a chance to reduce the loading times for free. Can’t wait to buy it, but might actually have to wait until christmas, so others can buy it for me. If I can wait this long. Either way, I’m getting this game.

Now, to the interesting part: Zelda. As soon as Zelda is mentioned I’m in, even though I have to admit, I have absolutely 0 interest in Tri Force Heroes, but it’s a spin off anyway. I also don’t really are about Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks on the Virtual Console, because they’re by far my least favorite Zelda games and I don’t plan on playing them again. Besides, even if I’d want to, I still have the physical DS games I can play on my 3DS, too. I seriously have no need for these games. If you missed out on them on the DS, I’d say go for it, but for me? Nope.

The big Zelda announcement was Twilight Princess HD, I guess? I’m honest, I was pretty impressed by the graphical improvements Star Fox Zero made between E3 and now (it actually starts looking like a game I’m interested in buying by now), but TPHD didn’t really impress me at all. Wind Waker HD looked noticably better, but from the first glance we got, TP HD didn’t really good that much better compared to its original release. Then again, Wind Waker has a much more timeless art style and aged better to begin with. As you can see, I’m not too hyped for this. TP is 9 years old, but it still feels rather recent to me, because there’s just one Zelda home console game that is even more recent and that is Skyward Sword. Also, I’m oversatuated with Zelda remakes. I’d rather have them spent more time on Zelda U and get this game out faster, than having another remake. They’re milking the franchise with rereleases and remakes way too much at the moment.

Which brings me to: minutes of Twilight Princess HD footage and I don’t give a damn.

13 seconds of Zelda U footage and I turned into a piece of happy jelly.

happy-jelloAs much as I’m oversatuated with remakes and rereleases, I’m dying to get my hands on Zelda U.The new footage didn’t even show anything new, we just saw a glimpse of Link on Epona. And yes, I know we don’t know the name of the horse yet, but it’s a red-brown-ish horse in a Zelda game ridden by Link, of course it’s Epona. It’s like questioning if the blonde princess with the pointy ears is called Zelda.

Either way, as underwhelming as TPHD was for me, seeing this beautiful game right after, made me want this so damn bad even more. Stop giving me all the remakes and spin-offs, just finish up this game. I don’t need TPHD, I don’t need Tri Force Heroes and I certainly don’t need the DS games on Virtual Console. I need Zelda U, that’s the only Zelda game I really want right now, because I know it’s going to be awesome. They still have it in them, A Link Between Worlds was fantastic, and what we’ve seen so far just looks so damn good.

Will I buy TPHD? Maybe. I’m not sure yet. I’ve never been a huge fan of TP, I like Wind Waker and Skyward Sword better, but it’s still a good game and maybe I can give it another chance. Next year is the franchises 30th anniversary after all, so I’m going to drown myself in Zelda anyway. My highlight, though, will be Zelda U. This game will overshine them all.

I just love Zelda.

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