Hyrule Hierarchy

Hyrule Hierarchy: Ranking The Legend of Zelda Games

One man's opinions of how he'd rank the top 15 Legend of Zelda games. Randy explains his order and why each game has it's particular place among the fifteen.

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Review: Injustice 2

Injustice 2 Is Justice 2 The Franchise...Get It?

Injustice 2 is out and I have played it extensively. Before I get into what I think of the game let me admit to something...I am not good at fighting games. At least, not these traditional fighting games. So I’m also approaching this game from the standpoint of someone who wants to learn and get better. That being said, let’s get into it!

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Switch Presentation

Contain Your Hype: Nintendo’s Switch Presentation Wrap-up

For weeks Nintendo fans, nay-sayers, onlookers and well-wishers have (Not So) patiently waited for January 12th. Nintendo promised an in depth look at the hardware, games and details regarding the Nintendo Switch on this date, and now that it has come and gone…boy did they come through. As we discovered a couple of weeks ago, Nintendo planned to drop this heap of information in the most Nintendo way possible: In a dedicated presentation aired from Japan at 7Pm PST (which in some countries was about 3 or 4 in the morning). So we waited, queued up our streams and watched as they hopped, splatted and raced their way into our hearts again. Now, when the Switch was first announced, Atomic Geekdom and I brought you a pretty in depth look at the console and some of its features, so this time I’m going to list some of the biggest and most exciting developments from the Switch Presentation and what they meant to me. So let’s get into the meat and juices of this amazing console.

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Nintendo Switch Reveal

Nintendo Switch Reveal: An Elegant Console For A More Civilized Age

By: Randy Soltero

October 20th 2016 is a day that I will remember for quite some time. Not only is it officially the 20th anniversary of the Pokemon Trading Card Game, but finally after months of building anticipation, Nintendo released a trailer giving us our first look at their new home console. The three and a half minute trailer was packed full of exciting tidbits about upcoming games, features and support for the new system. Also, after months of referring to it under its codename, NX, Nintendo revealed the official name of the long awaited follow up to the Wii U: Nintendo Switch. Is the name a frenzy-inducing, exciting or inventive name? Not really. In fact, the codename NX is by far a more interesting moniker, however, even with the small amount of information we received, there’s a lot to look forward to when the Switch launches this coming March. The short video highlighted some of the major gameplay functions, but also managed to sneak in some more info for eagle eyed fans. So let’s break down some of the information we have as of today.

FEATURES/FUNCTIONALITY:

The trailer revealed the big mystery of the Nintendo Switch. Fans have been speculating that the new home console would also double as a portable gaming device due to some patent information that has popped up over the last year. It turns out; the fans hit the nail on the head. As the name implies, players will be able to switch between playing from the comfort of their homes, to playing the same games on the go, at the park, or at their friend’s apartments (apparently Nintendo thinks our friends all live in apartments). The core device and “brain” of the console resides in the portable unit containing the LCD screen. This device can be removed from the docking station and used as a full version of the console, only with added mobility to continue gaming throughout the world

The Dock functions as a charging station and power supply, as well as providing an output to your television for home gaming. This is the main attraction of the Switch, finally giving us a fully functional home and mobile device all in one gorgeous bundle. Back when the Wii U was released, this was the feature that I had assumed Nintendo was trying to bring to us. Unfortunately, the Wii U Gamepad doesn’t even have the capability to extend game play to the next room in your house, much less anywhere you travel. It seems as though Nintendo is finally perfecting the functionality and bringing us a feature that will surely be the future of console gaming.

CONTROLLERS:
Of course, one does not simply release a console, regardless of how innovative the basic functionality is, when you are Nintendo. Nintendo is known for focusing on ingenuity over power when it comes to designing new consoles. Their systems may not lead the way in graphics, raw power, or even memory, but they are famously willing to take a risk to change the way we play video games. This time around the Switch offers a plethora of ways to actually control the games. Players often complain about Nintendo’s controllers, especially since they often come with a gimmicky function in tow. The Switch has a new pro controller for fans of modern gaming, which is more in line with an Xbox controller rather than the sticks and pads of their past. It basically resembles the Pro controller that we already have, which is fine by me. But, I’m guessing that’s not the way the games are “intended” to be played considering the Pro is not its primary controller.

The real crown jewels of the console are the Joy-Con L and R controllers, which can be played multiple ways themselves. The two controllers can be joined together by the Joy-Con Grip to form, what looks to be, what they consider the default controller. Now, this is a controller done in typical Nintendo fashion.  Somewhat resembling the Gamecube Wavebird, it may be odd and possibly uncomfortable, but darn…does it look cool. Each side also cleverly features new plus and minus buttons which I assume is for menus and pauses much like the Wii family controllers (No, that’s NOT the world’s tiniest D-pad). The two sides can also be played while detached from the grip and held in each hand. I can’t imagine this would be ideal for me, but in the end, variety is everything. They can also be attached to the console and removed from the base to be played with in all of its portable beauty. The portable design actually looks remarkably comfortable and promises not to be a dim, downgraded disappointment according to Nintendo. If that’s not enough, two players can split the L and R controllers and use the console as a mobile screen for local multiplayer. Get a few friends with their own Switches together and expand the local multiplayer as much as each game will allow. Speaking of, Nintendo kindly gave us some sneak peeks at what we have to look forward to in the library.


GAMES/MEDIA:

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was the first game officially announced for the console. Fans even had a chance to play the Wii U version of the anticipated title at this year’s E3. The game looks like it will be a beautifully rendered, immersive new take on the series, but to list everything that I’m geeking out on this game about would probably take its own article. Nintendo showed off its multiplayer capabilities by featuring gamers playing a rigorous game of Mario Kart. The big change here is that one of the players is controlling King Boo who is absent from the Wii U’s Mario Kart 8. The game also shows that two items are able to be held for attacking and ruining friendships. This confirms that we will either be getting a new Mario Kart or at least a port, the latter being a more likely scenario. Bringing King Boo back is a nice step forward in the MK8 lineup, which was lackluster at best, but bringing Diddy Kong back into the fold would push me to forgive the inclusion of an excessive amount of Baby characters to the roster. While we didn’t get to see any hints that Super Smash Bros will make its way to the console, it is more than likely we will get it eventually. Nintendo may release a separate barrage of information, hopefully, specifically focused on Smash as they have been known to do in the past. 

Another scene featured what appears to be a brand new 3-D based Super Mario game. Everyone’s favorite plumber appears to be venturing through a Dias Los Muertos themed wonderland and utilizing his 3-D game mechanics. It is a bit hard to tell if the mechanics are closer to 3-D World or Galaxy, but Mario Galaxy 3 has been a long awaited title and is what I’m crossing my fingers for. Another game heavily featured was, the surprise hit on Wii U, Splatoon which doesn’t showcase any new features. The video shows fans gathering in a packed stadium while a competitive Splat match begins. Other than confirming a port for the fan favorite squid-shooter (or Inker?), the setting raises my hopes that Nintendo will eventually start supporting or sponsoring Esports events in the future.


One of the big takeaways from the trailer, and subsequent information released after the debut, is that Nintendo is finally getting more serious 3rd party support. One of the big complaints about Nintendo’s game library is that they typically do not get the top selling main stream games, whether it’s due to hardware support or, more commonly, the fact that Nintendo has always focused and banked on their 1st party characters. An expansive list of developers is currently creating games that will hopefully fill out a launch library that’s able to quell the grievances. We got confirmation that a Skyrim Remastered edition will be released at some point, which will mark the first time a game of that magnitude is included on a Nintendo system. The trailer shows some clips of people playing on both the Pro Controller and the dual wielded Joy-Con Controllers. As an avid Fallout fan, support from Bethesda was one of the most exciting bits of information for me, and if it ever sees a Nintendo release, I think I may die from joy. Until we know more about games coming to the Switch, I can just be happy that the company I love looks like they are going to start getting the respect they deserve in the gaming community. 

Another rumor confirmed by the trailer is the switch back to cartridge based games as a replacement for the disk-based games of old. It may be the nostalgic sentiment in Nintendo fan’s hearts, but it seems to be very warmly welcomed by everyone. Having the Home Console and Handheld market employ the same media for games will be much easier for gamers wanting to experience the best of both worlds. The Gamecards, as they are dubbed, are small and sleek, closely resembling the 3DS games that are piling up in our collections now. Will this replace the Wii U and the 3DS, who have different formats for their games and not much connectivity? It’s hard to say since Nintendo fans tend to have a hard time letting go of consoles from the past. But, for the average gamer, having no connection with the company, I could see how the last generation of gaming could be rendered irrelevant.

THE DESIGN:
Well, this seems to be a point of disagreement amongst fans after the reveal. Many think the system is an abhorrent, disgusting eyesore of a console more closely resembling a toaster than a game console. Others find it to be an elegant, imaginative thing of beauty. I for one fell in love with the console the moment I laid eyes on it. It’s sleek, fun and offers more playability than we usually get from consoles before adding cameras and motion sticks. I can’t express enough how gorgeous it is to me from the docking base’s sturdiness to the light simplicity of the Joy-Cons. Now, what we saw in the trailer are demo models and could undergo changes between now and launch, but hopefully they stick with the core aesthetic, and keep the tradition of focusing heavily on innovation and unique entertainment alive.

As far as further functionality, such as HardDrive size, inclusion of touchscreen capabilities, price, or a comprehensive list of games, Nintendo is keeping a tight lip for the time being. More details will be released before the launch in March of 2017, but this tease was just enough to bait fans away from hammering Nintendo to give details on the system. Just a little taste is all this fan needs to stay satisfied until a deeper look into the specs is made available. Based off of the general tone of the trailer, it appears as though the Switch will be the first Nintendo console specifically geared towards adult gamers. While that is a scary notion, I trust that they have the foresight to remember why we have remained loyal fans (i.e. Splatoon > COD). Either way, the line has been drawn and Nintendo is ready to be taken seriously, while still retaining their unique flavor. Established partnerships with companies such as Activision, Havok and even the Unreal Engine 4 should go a long way to bring them back into the forefront of the gaming industry.  While many reviewers have been critical of the hardware, the look and even the new controllers, one thing we can all agree on…It’s a wonderful time to be a Nintendo fan!

You can find all you need to know about the Nintendo Switch at www.nintendo.com/switch or on the Atomic Geekdom and Just2Pals Podcasts when more information comes to light. You can also view the Official Reveal Trailer, that all of the kids are talking about, right here on atomicgeekdom.com

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Until Dawn RoB Trailer

Until Dawn: Rush of Blood Trailer!

We were huge fans of the uber-popular Supermassive Games horror game Until Dawn. It was a game I found hard to put down, and one I was able to finish with a weekend easily. It also provided a lot of replay value to see how their story played out when you made a number of different decisions within the game itself. And now...Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is set to be released on October 13th, just in time for Halloween. It's not being described as a sequel but more of a spin-off to the original. Check out the trailer below!

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Foam Coring

Foam Coring a Board Game

I began a new hobby, foam coring. I needed something that was different than my usual screen staring, movie and TV watching self. Something that would challenge me, utilize my OCD and extreme attention to detail and perfectionism, something that would frustrate me in a different way, and something that would pay off in the long run. I chose foam coring for all those reasons, and of course, because I love board games and want them to be kept nice for a long time, as well as make them easier to setup and start playing.

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Pokémon GO Review

A Wild Pokémon GO Review Appeared!

In the 90’s one of my favorite things in the world was Pokémon. I couldn’t get enough. I played the games on my Gameboy, had complete 1st edition sets of the Base, Jungle and Fossil cards, and habitually watched the anime. Pokémon stayed with me through my adulthood, but seemed to fizzle out in the public eye for a while. The buzz started again in 2013 when the late great Satoru Iwata, of Nintendo, and Tsunekazu Ishihara, of The Pokémon Company, created a little April’s Fool’s joke with Google Maps. Well, it wasn’t little, it was a game challenge that lasted a day, to travel the globe and catch every single Pokémon. This was just the type of thing to get fans, like me, losing their minds with the possibility of actually playing a game where you could catch Pokémon in real life. Some decisions were made, and an unfortunate passing occurred, but in 2015 Tsunekazu Ishihara announced plans for an augmented reality game that did just this, and dedicated his announcement to Satoru Iwata. And now, three years later, we finally have it: Pokémon GO. Oh yea…

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Boss Monster Review

Monster Review of Boss Monster

Video gaming has always been a big part of my life. Since I was just a young lad playing Nintendo and Sega, I’ve always been in love with retro gaming and 8-bit pixel art. The first thing you notice about Boss Monster, by Brotherwise Games, is that it feels like so much more than a table top card game. The look and feel of retro videogames makes you feel right at home if you are anything like me, but also makes the art cool enough to be enjoyed even if you spent the 80’s and 90’s doing something else like what? Pogs? At its heart, Boss Monster is a 2-4 player strategic dungeon-building card game filled with memorable monsters and heroes, familiar video game tropes such as traps, tricks and everything you need to screw over your friends! Each player builds a dungeon so treacherous that no man could make it through to the end, then, attract heroes to their dungeon to kill them and claim their souls. Pretty simple… if you didn’t have to worry about heroes who do make it through your dungeon wounding you, or even your opponents sending heroes your way that you cannot handle, damaging your dungeon, or beating you to a hefty soul collection to win the game! 

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BGR Pandemic

Board Game Review - Pandemic

Welcome to the world of cooperative gaming. These type of games pose an entirely different challenge, where everyone at the table teams up to play against the game. It’s a turn of events and can bring a group together again after a game of attacking and stabbing each other in the back. Typically a good co-op game can be challenging for the whole group together, and it’s rarely one person’s fault for a loss.

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BGR Takenoko

Board Game Review - Takenoko

Takenoko has quickly become one of my favorites to play. The game’s concept is pretty easy to understand, and the goal is the same as most: be the person who has the most points at the end. However, there are five or so different strategies that you can take to get points, and unlike games such as Settlers or Puerto Rico, you don’t need to adapt to all strategies to win, just do one thing very well.

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Late Night Game Nights

Late Night Game Nights

As a geek dad who loves movies and board games, it’s important to set aside time to do both. Fortunately, I am able to geek out a lot at work with a bunch of guys who also enjoy board games and movies, but just talking about them is never sufficient. You got to play them, you got to live them, you have to make specific time to play them.

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Games With Gold

Games With Gold

Games with Gold is a program that Microsoft started over the summer of 2013 to give two free games a month to digitally download for members of the Xbox live community with a gold membership. Sony has the same program for PlayStation subscribers, but that’s for a different article. The concept of giving out free games seems to be interesting, but when you think about free video games the first thing that comes to mind for the most part is these games are terrible, right? As in the words of famous collegiate football athlete and commentator Lee Corso, “Not so fast, my friend.” 

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