VIDEO GAME: Ocarina of Time 3D (2011)

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D Year: 2011 Rating: E10 Time Played: 16.95 hours When I was cataloging my video game collection a few years ago, I realized how I seemed to have a lot of Nintendo console games that I also had in a Game Boy version. While this seems to indicate I was the prime market for the Switch decades before it came out, I never considered the “portable” versions of these games to be that good. With the recent uptick in remakes and re-ports to newer hardware, I can’t claim that I appreciate buying the same game I already own and can still play on an older system. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is the exception to this. While it had been some time since I played Ocarina of Time, it was one of the first Zelda games I actually completed when I was growing up. So, with a bit of nostalgia tinting my play-through of the...
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VIDEO GAME: A Link Between Worlds (2013)

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between WorldsYear: 2013Rating: ETime Played: 895 minutes / 14.92 hours While I bemoan remakes of games that are just straight ports from their original system, I can appreciate remakes that add a little something to make it worth playing the same story over again. That was definitely the case with The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. Basically a 3D re-skin of A Link to the Past, A Link Between Worlds modifies the mechanics and story just enough for me to consider it a moderately unique entry in the Zelda series. In fact, I think I like this game more than I do the game it was originally based on. This game's stereoscopic effect really adds to that top-down visual style that defined the earlier Zelda titles. So, while everything looked gorgeous in its reimagined 3D form, the game already lent itself to this technological feature. I also appreciated how open this game was, as...
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VIDEO GAME: Pokémon Shuffle (2015)

Pokémon Shuffle Year: 2015 Rating: E Time Played: ~824 hours Considering how much time I’ve sunk into this game, I should probably give it a review. While on its surface, Pokémon Shuffle is merely a branded version of a “match three” puzzle game, the mechanics it adds to this genre gives the game an amount of strategy that is clearly addicting. As a free-to-play gamer, I haven’t put a single dollar into this game (on either the 3DS or mobile versions). Consequently, it takes a very long time to get anything done in this game, at least when it comes to maxing out the stats on the best Pokémon to use. While the game has finally entered a regular cycle of events and specially available Pokémon, there was a time when I was excited to open up the game on Tuesdays to learn what new Pokémon I could catch/power-up each week. At the very least, with the normalization of events, I know I won’t have...
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VIDEO GAME: Pokémon Picross (2015)

Pokémon Picross Year: 2015 Rating: E Time Played: ~78 hours I’ve never been much of a fan of picross-type games. Mostly, the user interface for them required the use of a D-pad, which made solving each puzzle a slow endeavor. Additionally, most of the pictures created via these picross puzzles were not that interesting. This was why I was surprised to find that I enjoyed Pokémon Picross so much. Sure, it might be a picross game at its core, but the addition of the Pokémon brand made it much more entertaining to play than any other picross game I’ve come across. Additionally, the 3DS touch screen and stylus made completing puzzles that much easier than using a D-pad. While the Pokémon content and stylus controls were two reasons I ended up completing this game, I admit that it has one annoying flaw: paywalls. Granted, Pokémon Picross is a free-to-play game, but there are a few points early on where you need a certain amount of...
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VIDEO GAME: Pokémon X (2013)

Pokémon X Year: 2013 Rating: E Time Played: 36.37 hours When I finally bought a 3DS, one of the games I had missed (that I quickly rectified) was Pokémon X. I appreciated all the legendary Pokémon given out as part of the 20th anniversary of the Generation 1 games. Still, I didn’t get around to playing through this game until after Pokémon Sun came out. For the first game in the series to be fully 3D, I certainly enjoyed the look and polish of it, even if the stereoscopic abilities of the 3DS weren’t used as much as they should have been. After all, with everything rendered with 3D visuals, I want the full game to use the ability of the hardware to display in 3D. After playing the much more difficult Generation 5 games, I did enjoy how much easier they made Pokémon X. Granted, they kind of overdid it with the sharp drop in difficulty. Still, I also think they were trying to...
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VIDEO GAME: Pokémon Sun (2016)

Pokémon SunYear: 2016Rating: ETime Played: 115.37 hours While I grew up with the original 1st Generation Pokémon games, I had lost interest in the series just after Gen. 3. This was around the time I headed off to college, so I didn’t have as much time for video games as I did while in high school. Fast forward to the 20th anniversary of Pokémon and the release of Pokémon Sun and Moon. There were plenty of legendary Pokémon being given out at the time, so I found it was as good a time as any to get back into the series. A lot had changed since I left, and Pokémon Sun carried over plenty of these changes. I appreciated a lot of these tweaks, including the removal of HMs and unlimited-use TMs. And while adjusting the “experience share” to give experience to all the Pokémon in my team made the game a little easier, it also reduced the amount of grind that...
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VIDEO GAME: Poochy and Yoshi’s Wooly World (2015)

Poochy and Yoshi’s Wooly World Year: 2015 Rating: E Time Played: 11.35 hours It’s weird to think that it has been 20 years since Yoshi split off into its own franchise. The sequel to Super Mario World, Yoshi’s Island established the franchise’s game mechanics and the titular character’s movements back in 1995. Since then, there haven’t been too many entries in the core series. Yoshi’s Story rehashed some of the gameplay a little over a decade after Yoshi’s Island, just like Poochy and Yoshi’s Wooly World managed to do a decade after that. Part of the problem with this is that the visuals always get an update, but nothing else changes significantly with each iteration. Somewhat in the same universe as Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Yoshi’s Wooly World has a tactile and charming aesthetic that revolves around yarn and other fabric crafts. While Yoshi can launch balls of yarn—much in the same way that eggs were used in previous iterations of the franchise—one of the goals...
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VIDEO GAME: Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse (2014)

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse Year: 2014 Rating: T Time Played: 562 minutes / 9.37 hours A couple of years ago, I started hearing about a cult classic Game Boy Color game known as Shantae. While this game released near the end of that handheld’s life cycle, there was plenty of buzz about how it was a solid platformer with plenty of potential. Fast forward eight years and the first sequel, Shantae: Risky’s Revenge, made its appearance as a virtual game on the DSi. I happened to jump into this series with the 3DS virtual title, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse and I certainly enjoyed the pseudo-Metroidvania approach that WayForward took with this franchise. While I would have liked to have found a cartridge version of this game, I eventually settled on buying it from the eShop. I’m glad I did, as it allowed me to play the game instead of just thinking about it. Overall, it’s a solid action platformer with plenty of upgrades...
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VIDEO GAME: Mario Kart 7 (2011)

Mario Kart 7 Year: 2011 Rating: E Time Played: 2.35 hours One of the challenges of long-running series like Mario Kart is how to maintain the core gameplay mechanic while also continuing to innovate. Previous iterations in the franchise played with having two characters in a Kart (Double Dash on the Gamecube) before reverting to the traditional formula (Mario Kart Wii). Furthermore, with the limitations present in portable and handheld consoles, there’s a point where the experience isn’t quite the same as it would be on a television screen. Fortunately, Mario Kart 7 seems to have struck a good balance between new ideas and embracing nostalgia. Even if I didn’t use the online mode for racing against other individuals (one of the core attractions of the Mario Kart series), I did find that each race in Mario Kart 7 was just long enough for me to play through in a single sitting. If I had more time, the option to race through a series of...
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