Switch… it off: Parental Controls

I’m pretty sure I always said that I was going to get a Nintendo Switch… right? … 

The day finally came and I now own my first (relevant) Nintendo home console! Regular readers shouldn’t panic however; I won’t suddenly be warping over to the ways of the plumber and given that one of my first purchases has been the widely anticipated retro throwback nostalgathon ‘Sonic Mania’ (despite how much of a liar he is), it’s safe to say that I’m still staying true to my Mega Drive heritage whilst accepting that times change. I’m also not planning on abandoning PC gaming, but hopefully the Switch will fill that gap in couch gaming, local co-op, and portable action that has been lacking despite trying to fill it with the Steam Link.

If forced to give a one word answer about my interest in the Switch, I’d have to go with ‘curiosity’; I’m interested to see how this hybrid home/portable console with confusing Lego-esque controllers and certain retro leanings holds up. Nintendo has always earned my admiration for thinking about how people game and how they interact with those games, even if not all their experiments work in the market place. It’s an innovative company with a new innovative product… and one of those innovative aspects is the parental control app….    Continue reading “Switch… it off: Parental Controls”

PU:BG – Bathroom Surprise!

It’s been difficult to miss the wave of enthusiasm within the gaming community for the fabled ‘PLAYER UNKNOWN’s BATTLEGROUNDS’; a currently early access title with its roots set in the modding community (like so many great games before it) and with a user base now measured in millions. Having only a cursory understanding of the game, but a high degree of curiosity, I jumped in a couple of weeks ago and with about 24 hours of playtime I’ve been staring at a blank screen trying to work out how to go about wrapping up these hours in a digestible and entertaining form… If I’m honest I’ve begun and scrapped half-a-dozen attempts to take a witty spin on it, or begin in a quirky off the wall way, and come to the conclusion that for PU:BG, a blunt direct approach might just be the best for what is in essence a clean and straightforward concept.

If there is anyone out there that still has no idea what I’m jabbering on about, PU:BG is a Battle Royale game based on an open world island; 100 players skydive in, all with the aim of being the last standing. Periodically the blue shimmering play boundary, known only as “the circle” shrinks, forcing those hiding and trembling survivors to scamper from their rabbit holes into the rapidly diminishing territory. Players outside the circle are ‘encouraged’ back in through the use of physical damage, and an occasional air strike is thrown in just to keep everyone on their toes. Other than that the game is fairly standard shooter fare with weapons, health, & armour pickups in buildings, vehicles to move hastily (but noisily), and an island peppered with soviet era towns, buildings, & bridges along with a healthy dose of wilderness. The task can be tackled in solo, pair, or four person squad modes and although the island is always the same, the vector of the transport aircraft along with the shirking play-zone seems to keep gameplay fresh whilst allowing the player to quickly recognise landmarks (and even pick out the odd favourite  haunt amongst the buildings). Continue reading “PU:BG – Bathroom Surprise!”

Blogger Blitz*: Mail Delivery

*The Blogger Blitz was dreamt up by Ian over at Adventure Rules

Today’s post is my entry for Round 1 of the Blogger Blitz event hosted by Adventure Rules, and that’s the best place to find details on the concept, rules, and schedule. It’s also where the results will be announced so head on over there to keep track of what’s going on!

The overall silver-shilling of it is that a few of us gaming bloggers have taken up the challenge of pitting our favorite game characters against each other in a tournament of unorthodox challenges. A team of judges will determine which character handled the scenario best and therefore who gets to proceed to the next round. Continue reading “Blogger Blitz*: Mail Delivery”

QotM*: Which Videogame Should Have Had a Sequel?

*Question of the month is the blogging equivalent of that cup of coffee in the middle of a tedious job brought to you by those good people over at Later Levels… with a Jammy Dodger on the side…  Game sequels tend to get a raw deal, developers are pressured into slapping a ‘2’ on the end of their successful title, building on the original, keeping … Continue reading QotM*: Which Videogame Should Have Had a Sequel?

How Fast is Sonic: My Own Take on the Age Old Question

So ‘Sonic Mania’ is arriving soon and, although that may not excite many people, any of us who fought bravely in the 16-bit wars of the early 90’s on the side of the blue spiked hero will be eagerly awaiting his return to his 2D homeland where he is still loved, in all the same settings that we loved him in. It promises to be … Continue reading How Fast is Sonic: My Own Take on the Age Old Question

Assorted 10 (Gaming) Happies

Last week, Kim, the resident Guybrush Threepwood expert at ‘Later Levels‘, posted 10 things that make her happy and threw out the challenge of sharing some positive vibes to the blogging community. Of course it’s not like me to play by the rules.. ok, it IS like me to play by the rules, but I like to put my own slant on them so whilst there are many non-gaming things that make me happy (My wife, family, home, pup etc…), I’m opting to stay on topic and present you with (in no particular order) ‘10 things that make me happy in games!’ Continue reading “Assorted 10 (Gaming) Happies”

3DS Launch Retrospective: Set Slider to Maximum

It’s a very Nintendo-ey time… don’t you agree? In the last year we’ve seen the launch of a new home console, the writhing clamour of customers trying to grab the NES mini or pre-order the SNES mini, the first mobile Mario game, and astronomy carried out with a GameBoy Camera. All this processing neatly through the door after a distinct slump in interest led by the cool commercial reception of the Wii-U (not that it didn’t have its own small devoted following as evidenced by James over on QTX). Given that I’ll soon be indoctrinated, or stamped, or branded, or subject to whatever initiation ceremony those entering the clan of Ninty are subject to with the arrival (hopefully) of my very own Switch in a month or so, it seems right that I look back at the arrival of my last Nintendo handheld console, the original 3DS. It’s also fitting as the great ‘N’ have just announced that production for the small, traditional, 3DS will cease more than likely indicating that they’re winding up for their next handheld iteration… or not if you believe the predictions that the Switch and mobile gaming is aiming to cut that facet from the Nintendo brand.

The 3DS is one of only two consoles that I was lucky enough to get at launch, and even then I didn’t get to play it on launch day; the ancient powers at Amazon (UK) decided that the good people who had paid that little extra for express delivery wouldn’t get their console on launch day whereas those less financially-liberal individuals who had opted for the standard delivery would be allowed access to that brand-new box of tricks with little explanation. When it did arrive a day late, I was nevertheless as enthralled with it as I had hoped.  I had originally ordered the 3DS for two main reasons; firstly I had missed the DS hype, but liked the dual-screen idea and was eager to try some of those titles (which would undoubtedly be dropping in price with the arrival of a new, but backwardly compatible, system). Secondly I was captivated by the idea of glasses-less 3D, sure, now the cutely named ‘2DS’ is almost as popular as the original and that new releases havn’t relied on 3D as a selling point for some time, but at release 3D was big news and highlighted once more how Nintendo are risk takers when it comes to innovation.

Continue reading “3DS Launch Retrospective: Set Slider to Maximum”