Pokemon: Let’s Go Eevee-Bringing Families Closer Together

This new game has done what I thought not possible.

I am a huge gamer and was in third grade when Pokemon took over the world. I loved the cards, the show, and especially the games…that is…red, blue and yellow. I lost interest in the games a little after Silver and Gold came out, because like a dumb kid, I was like “How dare they expand upon something I love and insult my nostalgia!?!?!”

But a few years ago I picked up where I left off, reentering the games with HeartGold/ SoulSilver and now have every mainline Pokemon game except the Sun and Moon ones. And I now love the series more than I ever did as a child.

Then Pokemon Go comes out, and I had no interest at all in playing it. But my wife, who despises everything about video games and yells out me regularly for my hobby, has been playing Go nonstop since it came out and absolutely loves it.

I appreciated the game for bringing her into something I have more or less loved my whole life. Suddenly, she became just as knowledgeable as me, if not more so, on the franchise.

So naturally, I tried to get her to play the mainline games, which she will never ever do and gets mad every time I ask. At the same time, she always asks me to play Pokemon Go, which I still have no interest in doing either. This frustrates my wife, as she claims “You have a thousand video games, yet you won’t play the one I actually do!”

Enter Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee. Eevee happens to be my wife’s favorite Pokemon, and here comes this game that let’s you have one walk around with you.

When I first saw the trailer, I thought it looked very good, was a smart business decision and pretty fun looking. I had no interest in it for myself, but I wondered what my wife would think, and so I showed her the trailer, and she loved it.

I just recently got it for her birthday and it has changed our lives (slight dramatization there). Here we are, playing co-op in a remade game that I cherished as a kid (and still do, really) with my wife in control. I don’t always play with her, cuz I find it kind of boring being the second player, but I find it so much more fascinating to watch her travel through Viridian Forest, battle Brock and all that, sharing the same experiences I had 20 years ago, but now with better graphics and different gameplay. It reminds me of my first time playing the first Pokemon games as I watch her play through it for the first time.  What’s more is she loves it. She actually likes it better than Pokemon Go, which I would have never thought possible.

It is truly baffling to me that when I go to bed, she goes and turns on my Switch and plays Pokemon for hours. Thanks to this new rendition of Pokemon, our similar interest, but on branching paths, have been joined and we can actually enjoy one of our greatest passions together, and for that, Nintendo, I thank you.

Nintendo Switch-First Impressions

So this past Friday was a pretty relevant day. In case you haven’t heard, Nintendo’s newest console, the home/portable hybrid called Switch was released. Today, I just want to talk about the system itself. What I like and dislike, etc. And I must say, while it is exciting for any company to come out with a new system, it is a whole lot more exciting when it happens to be a Nintendo console, strictly because they offer something different, new and exciting. It gives gamers a chance to experience something they really haven’t before. It isn’t all about graphics. It’s about the experience, about the gameplay. I seem to be in the minority when I say, I buy video games to play them, not look at them.

Any who, let’s get back to talking about the Nintendo Switch.

To start off, I was amazed how small it is. Even though I knew how small it was from videos and such, I was still completely shocked, for it is much smaller in person than you would expect. The whole console is a screen slightly bigger than the screen of the Wii U Gamepad. I’ve actually seen some of the ridiculously large cell phones come close to the size of it. Once you slip on the Joy Con controllers, that adds like 2 inches (if that) to each side. That is your entire console. By far and away the smallest home console ever made. Placing it in the dock, which connects it to your TV, only fattens it up by another inch or two. So the whole console is roughly 9 inches long with the controllers connected, four inches high, and about 2 inches wide. Those are some nice dimensions.

It is welcome news for someone like me, who has an entertainment stand a bit on the small side. I’ve already got a Ps2, PS3, PS4, SNES, N64, 2 Wii’s, Wii U and a DVD Player hooked up to the TV and I’ve more or less run out of space to put anything else in there. The small size of the Switch couldn’t have come at a better time. I can easily fit it anywhere. It makes me pray that every console in the future should downsize. While the Switch isn’t the most powerful machine out there, it is mighty impressive how small they made it nonetheless. Microsoft and Sony should follow suit, downsizing the technology before throwing out these clunky machines, only to resell them smaller years later. But those slimmed down versions are monstrous compared to Switch.

Now I just talked about how small the console itself is, but what really is shocking is how small the controller is. And I’m talking about when you slide the Joy Cons on the controller dock to play it like a normal controller. It is this tiny little guy! It took a bit to get used to using it, because the buttons are closer together than normal. But after a minute or so, you get comfortable with it. Even playing with one tiny Joy Con becomes comfortable after a short while.

While there are many ways to play the Switch, my personal favorite is having the console docked to play on the TV and just holding each Joy Con in each hand, without the controller dock. It gives you a satisfying feeling of freedom. Imagine it is like the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, but without the wire tethering them together. You are not restricted to one space like you are using any other controller in the world either. You can rest your arms anywhere, have each hand in different positions and still play normally. This is especially welcome, since I have two cats that love to sit all over me when I play games, thus forcing me to move my controller to an awkward position to play around the cats, or having to adjust them so I can still play. Now, thanks to the freedom of the Joy Cons, I can have my arms where ever I want, and the cats can lay however or where ever they want.

And you know what else is small? The game cartridges. The cases are tiny, smaller even than a PSP game, or thinner, but taller than a 3Ds game case. And the actual cartridge is about half the size of a 3DS cartridge!

Now I haven’t had too much time to play around with the Switch, but I will talk about what I’ve noticed once the system is on.

Firstly, just connecting it was a problem because the included HDMI cord is too small. It’s about maybe three feet long, but when you have to weave the thing all over the place, it ended up being a few inches short.

So what’s it like when you turn it on? Right off, I don’t like how they set up the app selection in the main menu of the console. It is now like the PS4 or 3DS where everything is just lined up in one long line. I know in the 3DS you can change this to have multiple apps appear on screen in 4×4 blocks or more. I don’t know if you can do it on PS4 or not, but it’s really annoying to have to scroll through 20 different things to find an app or game you haven’t used in a while. I loved the method the Wii U and Wii used. There was like 16 apps or so on the screen. One button scrolled to the next page, where 16 more things would show up. I have a lot of digital games on my Wii U, and they are all confined to 3 or 4 pages. That’s close to 100 apps you can choose from in no time. With the Switch, it looks like you would have to scroll through each one, one by one until you find what you are looking for. I despise doing it in PS4, and I will here. You may be able to change this though, I haven’t looked into it yet.

Another thing that bothered me is there is no music in the main menu or on the eShop. The eShop itself is rather pitiful. You only have the option of buying 9 games, but hey it’s brand new, so I expect both the menu and especially the eShop to drastically improve once more games and updates come out.

Now speaking of games, how did the Switch do with launch titles? Well, I’ve got to say, it’s terrible. Zelda is the best launch title you could hope for, but other than that, there is nothing particularly a must have. There isn’t really anything at all. 1,2 Switch looks pretty cool, but the other games aren’t really my cup of tea, so whatever. What makes it worse, is Zelda isn’t even actually a true Switch title. It’s just a more advanced version of a Wii U game that was supposed to release almost 2 years ago! What were they doing this whole time? We’ve been hearing about the code name NX for like four years! They couldn’t make some good games for it by launch?

Lack of launch games don’t really bother me though. Games will come and when they do, I’ll get them. I don’t need to have everything right out of the gate, but it’s important to most people, so I thought I’d mention it.

But speaking of launch titles, this whole argument you can find between gamers on the internet with the importance of launch titles really cracks me up. Most anywhere, you will find someone say “I won’t waste $300 on a console with no games. I’ll wait until they come out with more before I buy it.” Or they’ll say things like this… especially pertaining to Wii U, “there aren’t enough games to justify buying the console.”

This argument really makes no sense. I understand what they mean, but it honestly translates to “I can’t waste $300 because it doesn’t come accompanied with 5-10 $60 games I can buy alongside it.” The other example with Wii U translates to “I don’t have money to waste on the console because there isn’t enough money for me to spend on it after I buy it to justify it.”

What sense does that make? If you aren’t going to jump into the console immediately, then yes, it is smarter to wait for a good bundle or price drops in games, but if the argument is you don’t want to waste money, that is just stupid. If you know you are going to buy it eventually and there are games you want, then you might as well get it. But to each his own. I don’t really care what people do, but don’t bash a console for stupid, nonsensical reasons.

Well, I’m getting off topic here. That is everything I have noticed with the short time I’ve used the Switch. It can only get better from here! If you are one of the people who want tons of games, then I would suggest waiting. If you don’t care, then pick one up, you won’t be sorry.

But remember, the more support for a console, especially early on, the more likely more games and support from developers there will be!

Image result for nintendo switch

Series Ranked: The Legend Of Zelda

Holy crap! In three weeks or so, we are getting the first brand new home console Zelda game for the first time in nearly 6 years! I am pumped, especially since it comes along with a brand new, amazing looking console! What more could you ask for? To celebrate the occasion, I will be ranking every Zelda game that I happen to own from worst to best. Don’t worry, I own nearly all of them, so the list is close enough to complete. After all, I can’t rate a game I have never played before, though that seems to be quite a common thing to do now by many gamers.

I have also ranked all the Nintendo Consoles, if you want to check that out.

But anyway, here is all the Zelda games I own, ranked worst to best. I will be listing also the console they were on, the year released and number of times I’ve beaten them, just so you can get an idea of how much I’ve played them.

#20 The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition  (DS, 2011)

 

Times Beaten-1

This is the only Zelda game that I have played that I can honestly say I didn’t like. But that’s really because it’s not really a Zelda game. You just run around with 4 Links and solve little puzzles and it’s over before you know it. It was really just a quick cash grab and a way to show off the multiplayer capabilities of the DS using a big franchise to draw people in. I honestly don’t remember too much about it though.

 

#19 Link’s Crossbow Training   (Wii, 2007)

Times Beaten-1

Again, this is not a real Zelda game, but a bonus game that came packaged with the Wii Zapper, which was a gun shaped device that allowed you to insert the Wii Remote and nunchuk into it so that shooter games could be played more…realistically I suppose! Nothing gets you higher than really feeling like blasting away people.

Anyway, this game was surprisingly a lot of fun. It’s very short, but it manages to give you a feel for the Zapper, and having a good time in doing so. The developers put a lot of effort into such a small project, and that is always a great thing to see.

#18 The Legend Of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass  (DS, 2007)

Times Beaten-1

Our first actual Zelda game on the list. This is the only real Zelda game I can say I almost don’t like. It was just annoying to always go into some tower, avoiding some evil mist and Darknuts while finding special lantern fuel or whatever. I haven’t played it in a very long time, and am honestly in no hurry to do so again. But it is not a bad game by any means.

#17 Zelda II: The Adventure of Link  (NES, 1988)

Times Beaten-1

This is the black sheep of the Zelda family. It changed up the formula to a sidescrolling RPG. It’s hard as hell, but very rewarding. The challenge comes from losing all your XP when you die, but if you manage to level, you can pick various stats to level up. It actually is quite a fun game.

#16 The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask  (N64, 2000)

 

Times Beaten-2

If Zelda 2 was the black sheep, consider this the half-black sheep. This came out a mere year after Ocarina of Time to capitalize on the success of that game. What we got was something completely different, and quite good given the short development time. Instead of collecting tons of items, you collect masks instead (while still getting a large variety of items anyway). Each mask gives you some new type of ability or has some other effect. Some masks turn you into beloved Hylian races that you can go around and kill stuff with. It’s a unique twist on the Zelda formula and keeps up with the time traveling aspect born in Ocarina of Time. It is probably one of the hardest Zelda games too. This all being said, I wasn’t really wowed by this game, however enjoyable it is. I may have only beaten it twice, but I’ve played through more or less half of it at least two other times, each time liking it more and more.

#15 The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of Ages  (Game Boy Color, 2001)

Times Beaten-3

Nintendo pulled a pokemon with this game, releasing a sibling alongside it. The story is driven away from the main “rescue Zelda” bit, dealing with other villains and the like as well. This game has a focus on puzzle solving, and let me tell you, some of them are indeed quite tricky! This game included tons of new and returning items, and the ability to switch to different ages. Lot of fun!

 

#14 The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons  (Game Boy Color, 2001)

Times Beaten-2

Released alongside “Ages,” this was more or less the same game, but with a different villain, different oracle, and instead of traveling through ages, you could change the seasons. The items may have been a little different too. Another great game, this time more focused on action than puzzle solving. If linked with “ages” it would unlock a new dungeon where you could fight Ganon.

 

#13 The Legend Of Zelda: Spirit Tracks   (DS, 2009)

Times Beaten-1

This game was very similar to Phantom Hourglass, except a whole lot better. Driving around in customizable trains was a great idea and made traveling sort of fun. I don’t really remember too much about it, but I know I really liked it. Playing the flute thing you got was really cool too.

#12 The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX   (Game Boy Color, 1998)

Times Beaten-2

The original game for the Game Boy was the first handheld Zelda game. And let me tell you, they came out swinging. It is an amazing game that is every bit as fun now as it was 20 years ago. I used to have it, but I don’t know what happened to it. But that is okay, because the Director’s Cut version made it all much better. The added color allowed for new tunics found in a “color dungeon” as well as some other minor adjustments. The game has a ton of content for such an old game and can keep you busy for hours on end. It took the incredible fun of the first Zelda game and made the transition onto handheld flawlessly.

#11 The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker   (Gamecube, 2003)

Times Beaten-4

This is another unique Zelda game, but not so much in the gameplay aspect of it. It’s story and setting are what really set it apart. It is a lot of fun and the cel shaded graphics are gorgeous. There are a bunch of new races included, as well as some familiar ones. The amount of content is enormous, spread out over the equally big world. That is where the problem with this game comes in too. The world takes forever to travel on, and collecting the maps and pieces of the Triforce is awfully tedious.

#10 The Legend of Zelda   (NES, 1987)

Times Beaten-1

Holy crap! If ever there was a game that was ahead of it’s time, aspiring and/or innovative, this was it. For the time, this game was massive and unique. Nothing had ever been done remotely close to this. It was a huge undertaking and blew everyone away. Like seriously, the only game that could come close to being as amazing as this for the time is Super Mario Bros. 3. But that was the fourth game in that series and this was the first. It is still just as fun today, and honestly, it holds up to the standards of today’s games as well. It is truly a masterpiece and the best game to come out of the 80’s.

#9 The Legend Of Zelda: The Minish Cap   (Game Boy Advance, 2005)

Times Beaten-1

I am not going to lie, I don’t remember much about this game, other than that it is really good, it has like an origin story to it, and a fun shrinking ability which makes puzzle solving and exploration a lot of fun. A very solid game.

#8 The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds   (3DS, 2013)

Times Beaten-1

Say hello to the best handheld Zelda game. My goodness, it is good. Lots of new items, some weird, new renting system for the items, a fabulous story, and great gameplay. It is essentially a remake of A Link to the Past, and actually is a linear sequel. Really wonderful game. It falls just short of its prequel however.

 

#7 The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past  (SNES, 1992)

Times Beaten-3

Heh, funny to see I have only bothered to beat this game 3 times, when I must have at least started new games like 15 times over the years. I had commitment issues as a small child.

Anyway, this game did for it’s generation what the first Zelda did for the 80’s. This game floored everybody. I still remember playing it for the first time and being completely blown away. It took what made the first game perfect and improved upon that perfection. Tons more items, a larger map to explore, all sorts of new tricks and people. It was just crazy. The story was a bit deeper for back then as well, always pushing you to the next challenge, anxious to see what happens next, what new item you will find and how you would get to use it. Just awesome…

#6 The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess   (Gamecube, 2006)

Times Beaten-2

Breath of the Wild is in a very similar situation to the one Twilight Princess was in. It got delayed for about two years and then was released on Gamecube, and as a launch title for the brand new Wii. But whereas both versions of BotW are coming out at the same time, they actually released the Gamecube version a few months later to push Wii sales. But if you were like me, it took about a year to actually get hold of a Wii, so I gave up and bought it on Gamecube. I was really looking forward to this game and was not disappointed. There was tons of new features, a unique and beautiful graphical style, and just an overall great atmosphere to it. This game also features some of my favorite dungeon designs, for they sort of varied from past games.

#5 The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD   (Wii U, 2013)

Times Beaten-1

This game is phenomenal. It took everything that made the original version annoying and remedied it. It fixed every little issue, making this one of the best Zelda games ever. I couldn’t believe how much better it was. The gamepad made accessing maps and items very quick and easy as well. Suddenly a game I was not that crazy about became one of my favorites. And the cel shaded visuals are just stunning in HD.

#4 The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time   (N64, 1998)

Times Beaten-Around 10

Nintendo did it once again. They took everyone by surprise and completely blew away everyone’s expectations. Just like Zelda and Link to the Past, this game was something truly ambitious and unheard of. And it also is incredibly fun to this day. Tons of items, songs, locations and people make this one to remember. The best part is the time travel however. Being able to play as Young Link and Adult Link is such a great feature that makes any of the other games have a hard time comparing to it.

#3 The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time Master Quest   (Gamecube, 2003)

Times Beaten-2

If I remember correctly, this was a preorder bonus for The Wind Waker. Much better than today’s “bonuses” I must say. Needless to say, I preordered it immediately. The master quest is essentially the same game, except with much more difficult puzzles in it. It was a breath of fresh air, playing one of my favorite games with new adjustments to it. It was truly a great feeling. So that is why it tops the original.

#2 The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3D   (3DS, 2011)

Times Beaten-1

A classic game that benefits from updated visuals, slight motion control and a touchscreen? Obviously this is the best version. It makes quite a few improvements to a masterpiece. Ocarina of Time just continues to shine through and through.

#1 The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword  (Wii, 2011)

Times Beaten-1

Here it is, the best Zelda of all time. Thanks to the Wii’s motion controls, it put Link’s sword and shield in your hands. Though the controls were a bit tricky to figure out, once you learned how to hold the controllers and how to move them, it was a breeze, making for some truly satisfying gameplay. There was a great story and the Loftwing’s were a lot of fun to travel on. Lots of cool and memorable characters, both ally and villain, made the game even better. And this game actually had challenging fights in it. Most 3D Zelda games were quite easy, focusing more on puzzle solving than action. This had a nice balance of both. Tons of brand new items were thrown in the mix as well, along with a new upgrade system for most of your items. I never thought any game would top Ocarina, but this game just makes it feel so dated.

Skyward Sword truly has a unique feel, while having that familiarity as well. As do all the games for that matter. That is what makes them so good. That is why we all crave for another release, for Breath of the Wild looks to fit that formula perfectly. I also love how every game has that awesome gold cover to it, just holding that in your hands gives you a great feeling.

So there you have it. If memory serves correct, the only games I was missing in this list were TriForce Heroes, Link’s Awakening, Twilight Princess HD, Majora’s Mask 3D and Four Swords Adventure.