Super Smash Bros Ultimate DLC Line-Up Complete, Confirms Director

It looks like Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros team is further along that many anticipated with the DLC plans for their upcoming entry, Super Smash Bros Ultimate.

Last night, series director Masahiro Sakurai released a series of tweets (in English as well, which isn’t common for him to do) confirming that the DLC line-up for the acclaimed fighting series has been completed, and will be developed entirely in-house by Nintendo. Sakurai stated “Super Smash Bros Ultimate’s DLC line-up is now complete. This time the selection was made entirely by Nintendo. I decided if we can create a fighter based on their selection, then come up with a plan.”

While as positive as this news is, Sakurai asked fans to refrain from flooding his thread with suggestions on characters (a request which I feel will fall upon deaf ears unfortunately). “It’s great to dream about your favorite character joining the battle and I appreciate your passion, but please try to stay on topic when replying to tweets and refrain from flooding us, and other users, with requests when we’re not specifically asking for feedback. Thank you!”

 

While DLC may still be a few months off, fans won’t have to wait long to get their hands on the full game, which drops a month from today, on December 7th, 2018. For more updates as this story progresses, please follow us on Twitter @BonusAccessory.

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Rumor: Nintendo Switch Support and Feedback Added to YouTube Page, App Incoming this Week?

Building off of yesterday’s post regarding a possible Nintendo Direct for this coming Thursday, November 8th, there seems to be more smoke emanating from the metaphorical fire in terms of possible confirmation.

As first reported by NintendoWorldReport last night, on YouTube’s feedback page, the Nintendo Switch is now listed as a compatible device for viewing YouTube. Sources close with the site have identified this Thursday as a probable date. Both YouTube and Nintendo have yet to confirm this date yet.

Normally, when official outlets have “leaks” like this happen, it’s only a matter of time until the rumor becomes factual. In this case, it’s almost a complete no-brainer for the largest content digital distributor in the world to create a Switch port of their app. Many argue this is long overdue, along with the mega-ton media juggernaut that is Netflix. Both media outlets have been long rumored to make their appearance on the system, with Netflix even being rumored to be at the “ready to go” stage in terms of release for a Switch specific app.

None the less, this adds more credence to the probability of a Nintendo Direct being imminent. Normally, Nintendo releases a press statement and social media blast about 36-48 hours in advance of a Direct, to give media and consumers ample time to make themselves available for the event.

For more updates on the possibility of a Nintendo Direct this week, make sure to follow Bonus Accessory on Twitter @BonusAccessory, along with my personal account @travless16.

Rumor: New Job Posting for the Next Legend of Zelda Entry/Content

Job postings for certain game developers are usually hit or miss when it comes to trying to read the metaphoric palm of the future of your favorite game series. More often than not, they lead to nowhere, or are far too generic to deduce a logical connection to said franchise; but every now and then, these tidbits are only the tip of the iceberg, to a much larger announcement on the horizon.

Earlier this morning, ResetEra user guru-guru created a thread, with information he found pertaining to multiple newly listed job postings via Nintendo’s Japanese website. The rough translation, done by guru-guru, is as follows:

  • The first job posting is for a 3DCG Designer. The post specifies that the position revolves around terrain/topography production for aspects such as fields and dungeons.
  • Requirements: experience in making backgrounds in the common 3D animation software Maya and Adobe Photoshop; experience working on HD hardware, and if possible, Japanese fluency.
  • Other skills that aren’t required, but are appreciated: experience making backgrounds, specifically for an action game; experience making concept art; experience making assets in Substance Painter and Substance Designer; interest in Zelda, along with leadership experience.
  • The second posting is for a Level Designer. Nintendo is looking for someone to plan in-game events, field and dungeon layouts, as well as enemy aspects.
  • Requirements: experience working as a game planner for consumer games, and if possible fluency in Japanese.

While this isn’t cut and dry saying “Hey, our next Zelda project is in development!”, it does give consumers a pretty good idea that the preverbal gears are churning within Nintendo’s playground. What isn’t being necessarily thought of as an answer to this small morsel is the idea of another round of DLC for Breath of the Wild.

Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa recently stated during their most recent earnings meeting that he wants to keep producing content for already release Nintendo titles. As first reported by Bloomberg’s Yuki Nakamura, Furukawa stated “We need continuous growth. We must keep releasing new software. That includes DLCs and other contents for big titles that are already out.” While many Zelda fans had believed that Nintendo was finished producing and developing content for the award winning entry, Breath of the Wild, on both the Switch and Wii U, the company on record has never formally stated they were finished doing so.

Personally, I feel this information aligns more with the DLC route, rather than a hiring focused on the next entry in the franchise (at least at first); as I truly believe the next Zelda adventure has already been in development for months already. Due to the semi-recent change in oversight with Nintendo, in their appointing of Furukawa as the new president of the company, DLC for previously released titles could very well have been a newly brought to life by him. All of this is speculation by the author though, as nothing is set in stone until it is formally announced by the company representing the product.

As always, please take this with a huge grain of salt, in relation to the narrative of the next Legend of Zelda game being in development. If any updates are made to this story, I will update it accordingly.

Deals of the Day – November 5th, 2018

Below are the best deals found in, about and throughout the big bad ol’ internet:

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Opinion: Blizzard is out of touch, but remains successful

Blizzard Entertainment has been a staple in the PC gaming community for decades. If you’ve ever remotely interacted with video games in the past two decades, specifically on PC, there’s probably a greater than not chance you’ve crossed paths with one of Blizzard’s series. From their humble beginnings on the SNES, Genesis and MS-DOS platforms with games like the Lost Vikings and Blackthorne, to perennial juggernauts like Warcraft, Diablo and most recently Overwatch, Blizzard has amassed a library of original IPs that topple almost any other developer/publisher. But with so many accolades and decades of experience, why do they seem so disconnected with their fanbase?

This past weekend was Blizzard’s annual fan and consumer convention, BlizzCon, with the main event taking place on November 2nd and 3rd at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. Thousands of the company’s faithful fans gathered to see what new and exciting news Blizzard had to share with them, and to take in the atmosphere with friends, new and old.

But this year’s BlizzCon felt different than past years. There was a hint of extra excitement floating throughout the air in Anaheim, and whispers of one of gaming’s most popular franchises getting a sequel were abundant.

On August 8th, Brandy Camel, Associate Community Manager of Blizzard’s Diablo team, posted a short video on various social media platforms that briefly covered a few things, including various changes to the upcoming Season 14 of Diablo 3. Most importantly though she announced that multiple Diablo projects were in the works for the team. “The forges here at Blizzard are burning hot, and we have multiple Diablo projects in the works. Some of them are going to take longer than others, but we may have some things to show you later this year. We hope you stay tuned while we work to bring these Diablo experiences to life”, Camel positively stated in the post, while also thanking fans for their continued commitment to the series, and that “none of it would be possible without them”. There’s a lot to unpack with a statement like that, especially when you state that multiple Diablo projects are in the pipeline. Fans’ minds do start to wander, imagination starts to flourish, and hopes (both new and nostalgic) take over. Could this mean the long hoped for Diablo 2 HD Remaster/Remake long time fans have been clamoring for? Or is this the first acknowledgement of the inevitable Diablo 4 sequel being in development?

Well, turns out those thoughts were wrong, at least for the time being. On Friday, November 2nd, Blizzard announce one of those new Diablo experiences, Diablo Immortal; a new mobile MMO ARPG in the Diablo series, taking place between the events of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction and Diablo III.

To say fans didn’t warmly welcome it, is quite the understatement.

Now before I continue, I know, I know, I just quoted a senior member of Blizzard’s staff saying they have MULTIPLE Diablo projects in the pipeline to come. That means a Diablo 2 remake/remaster is still a possibility, and a new mainline Diablo sequel is all but directly confirmed to be in development. On top of that, can you blame Blizzard for entering the mobile gaming market? It’s one of the most lucrative entities in all of entertainment, not to mention the insane install base it has (aka almost anyone who has a smart phone).

But this is the PC gaming community we’re talking about. They are a whole different breed of gamer (and I do not mean than in a negative connotation); The passion and loyalty to their sect of gaming is unrivaled comparative to any console war debate, along with the PC gaming community easily being the largest install base in gaming as a whole (not including mobile).

While some of the reactions to Immortal have been over exaggerated, this is a clear case of a company saying to its consumer “you don’t know what you want. I know what you want, and you want this.”

The PC crowd is Blizzard’s bread and butter. Without them, there arguable would be no Blizzard today, or at least not in the prominent capacity they are viewed in now. With no PC gaming community, there is no World of Warcraft, which up until recently was one of the most recognizable and profitable entertainment entities in the world (Grand Theft Auto 5 recently took that crown), and still to this day one of the biggest revenue generators for the company. Without the PC crowd, there is no Starcraft, a series which is still one of the largest real time strategy games in the world today.

Most importantly to this situation though, without the PC audience, there would be no Diablo. This is a series built from the ground up for PC. While the console ports of Diablo 3 are awesome, the game was designed for the PC crowd; and I don’t mean that from a control aspect. I mean that from a design aspect. The simplicity of clicking a mouse button to move and target simple attacks feel at home comparative to a controller (not to mention casting special abilities with the various number key or custom key binds).

To be fair, the game doesn’t look half bad. The gameplay doesn’t seem to be too convoluted, with the HUD having a simply layout of one basic attack on a large face button surrounded by four smaller ability buttons, along with two even smaller buttons for your various potions. It gives the look of depth, but also doesn’t send out vibes of over complexity that could scare the casual audience they are trying to reach. I’m going to try it when it comes out, but we all know how this narrative will end, just like the narrative of all mobile games. Immortal will drop on iOS and the Google Play Store with a price tag of “FREE”, to garner a large player base early on, and provide them with simple and repetitive gameplay, and then prompt the player that they are out of “crystals” or some generic item and they need more to continue. They can do so by paying $10 for 100 crystals, or wait 48 hours to get 10 more to continue. While there are logical people who can see where this is a blatant cash grab, there are even more who poor thousands upon thousands of dollars into this model continuously.

But you know what, if that’s the audience you’re aiming for, and you think you can get them? Great! Super! Good for you! Attack that casual audience, and milk them; but this isn’t aimed at the casual audience, this is aimed at the PC audience. Who knows the value of quality, considering the average amount spent on a gaming-centered PC is $500 (tower alone), and know what an investment into this sect of gaming is financially.

The worst part about all of this? Blizzard is at the point as a company where they are too big to fail (at least in the short term). Take into account their merger with Activision in 2008, and the cash cows that they bring to the table, almost every decision Blizzard makes can be looked at as a win. They can take this PR nightmare that is Immortal and roll with the punches, because guess what? They have the cash to roll the dice on something like, which equates to a open palm slap to their PC faithful. In 2008, when World of Warcraft was at its arguable peak in terms of relevance to gaming, it alone makes an estimated $150 million dollars a month, equating to around $1.7 billion a year. Looking at the annual report from this past year, Activision-Blizzard, revenue was up an estimated $409 million dollars compared to 2016, and up $2.353 billion since 2015 (largely thanks to the popularity of the hero shooter Overwatch). It’s a sad reality, that Diablo faithful must wrap their heads around.

Who knows, January may roll around and we get a surprise reveal of a Diablo 2 remake/remaster, or a teaser of Diablo 4. While very unlikely, it’s not out of the realm of possibility. A lot of this boils down to mismanagement of information. Releasing a video alluding to a major Diablo announcement on the horizon, then revealing it to be a mobile phone iteration of the series, and then expecting your core audience (who is primarily vocally against mobile gaming) to instantaneously love it, is down right bizarre, and quite frankly idiotic. But when you’re one of the most lucrative gaming entities in the world, with one of the biggest entertainment companies backing you, why should you care? I mean, doesn’t everyone have a phone?

Update (11/5/18 8:28 PM): Upon release of this opinion piece, Kotaku’s Jason Schreier reported that sources from within Blizzard confirmed to him that Diablo 4 was supposed to be confirmed at the end of the BlizzCon presentation. The original plan for Blizzard’s BlizzCon Diablo presentation was to have Diablo Immortal presented as it was, but then to followed by a short video in which Blizzard co-founder Allen Adham was to tell the audience that a proper Diablo 4 was currently in development, but was not in a state to be shown yet. Per Schreier’s sources, Blizzard changed its BlizzCon plans for Diablo at one point within the last week or two, and that the Diablo team wasn’t ready to commit with an announcement. This would fit with the rumors of multiple director changes, following drastic changes to the game in general over the past four years. If more info is to come, I will continue to update this piece.

 

 

Rumor: Nintendo Direct on November 8th

Super Smash Bros fans were delighted to learn of a Direct happening last week, leading into the launch of the newest and content-heavy iteration of the series Super Smash Bros Ultimate on December 7th; but Nintendo may not be done for the year in terms of their fan favorite info drops.

GamingIntel.com, who previously have successfully predicted multiple Direct dates and times, have learned via their sources that another Nintendo Direct is imminent and could be a early as this Thursday (November 8th). From their November 5th article, they state “We are unsure of the exact date, something which we are trying to confirm as fast as we can. However, there were whispers of a November 8th Direct, although we cannot confirm this. Our source went on to state “I am 100% confident about another direct in November. I am NOT 100% confident on the date of November 8th. Given the recent YouTube leak, it does seem feasible that a November 8th Nintendo direct could take place, but I am not 100% sure”.

If the November 8th Direct is possible, that could mean an announcement in less than 24 hours from Nintendo, as they usually like to give a 48-36 hour window for the press to make themselves available for the Direct’s time slot.

In terms of the content the Direct could contain is the true head scratcher. We have known about the newest Fire Emblem entry’s (now titled Fire Emblem: Three Houses) existence since the initial Switch press conference in January 2017, but have only been granted a quick two minute teaser trailer for it at this past June’s E3 conference. Outside of what was shown, information is limited. One would think this would be a good slot to fit that in, to give it the time and spotlight it would need to acclimate the massive casual audience the Switch has amassed.

Another game that comes to mind is the newest entry into the Animal Crossing series, that is planned to launch sometime in 2019. While this idea is still a toss up to me, it would fit into the rumors that were circling earlier this fall that Animal Crossing could launch as early as March/April of 2019. If that rumor has an credence to it, this Direct could very much so be a great platform to drop a decent amount of info to viewers, especially those new to the series (like me).

As always, take all of this with a HUGE grain of salt, along with anything with the “rumor” tag involved. To stay up to date on all rumors related to Nintendo and this direct, follow Bonus Accessory on Twitter @BonusAccessory. As more info becomes available, we will distribute it via Twitter and update this article.

Red Dead Redemption 2 in Relation to Art and Subjectiveness

First off, let me say this: Red Dead Redemption 2 is a masterclass in game design, world development, immersion, narrative structure and its delivery, and most importantly it is a GREAT game.

But those same accolades are what certain people view as the game’s flaws. How is that possible though, to say a game is flawed in various aspects, but then turn around and give it scores that are making it one of the highest rated games of all time? I know that may sound convoluted and nonsensical, but THAT’S OK. After all, this is art we’re talking about.

Video games are one of the most prominent and revered forms of art in the modern era of entertainment, and with that comes the right for personal interpretation. No single person’s experience will be the same as another, and to me, that’s one of the most attractive aspects of the medium. Every person who plays said game, will have a different experience and have a different view or opinion on the game in some aspect. Sure, general consensus counts for something and generalities are a given (“Hey, I like this game!” “Hey, me too!”), but the true beauty is in the difference of opinion.

In my opinion, a sign that a game has truly done something special, is the deafening dialogue that precedes it.

Red Dead Redemption 2 has been one of the most highly anticipated titles of this console generation. Its predecessor (well, technically successor, narratively at least? I don’t know…you know what I mean!) was met with unanimous critical and commercial acclaim, laying the groundwork for developer/publisher Rockstar Games to create the perfect 1-2 punch of gaming series in their repertoire (including the Grand Theft Auto series).

Let’s be realistic though, Red Dead Redemption 2 was NEVER going to fully live up to the hype that fans created for it. This happens with almost every large scale, AAA game that fans are waiting baited breath on; the player’s imagination wonders, and a laundry list of hopes and wishes develops. But if you ask me, even with my lofty expectations with the title, I felt it delivered on everything Rockstar promised (I’m around 20 hours or so into the game, at the 50% of the main story at the posting of this article. I know, I know, it’s still early). The depth, detail and grandeur of this game, in my opinion, is only rivaled by the Witcher 3. I have yet to play Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, so I can’t speak personally on my experiences with it, but if it is anything like Origins, by all means, throw that in the conversation as well.

But the main gripe I’ve seen paired with the game is its narrative, and being conceptualized as “slow” or “dragging”. If you’re a fan of its predecessor, then this isn’t breaking news to you. Like many tales of the American wild west, the plot is one that could be contextualized as one that is a “slow burn”. It’s methodical, deliberate, disciplined and in all honesty: yes, it is “slow”. But as I’ve stated previously, “slow” doesn’t need to have a negative connotation attached it as an adjective; it’s all in the perception of the consumer. It’s art.

Personally, I love this narrative structure. One game that comes to mind that uses this approach: Naughty Dog’s the Last of Us. To be honest, the first time I started Naughty Dog’s critically acclaimed survival horror game, it didn’t click with me. I could tell there was something special there, but my gears just didn’t fit into its metaphoric cog, and I feel that it was due to the slower pacing of the story. It wasn’t until I played the remastered version on PS4 a few years ago, that it finally got me. Many third person action-adventured centric games of this period in gaming (Naughty Dog’s other seismic gaming franchise “Uncharted”, the Assassin’s Creed series, the Tomb Raider reboot, the Batman Arkham series, and even GTA 5 that released later that year to an extent) were quite paradoxical in comparison to the post pandemic tragedy. Many of the genre were fast paced, with blockbuster set pieces (I’m looking at you, Uncharted 2. I love you.) and plots that while were still very coherent and great in their own rights, were also fast tracked in parts to fit the style of the game. The Last of Us had elements of action, but it was built on suspense and desperation; two themes that are calculated and intense. Joel and Ellie’s story was stretched across a few weeks in time, it was stretched across months, and by the conclusion it is well over a year. Their actions are spawned out of necessity, they are planned, contemplated at first and decided between a group. All of these are traits of narratives that follow a slower pacing structure. Rockstar’s newest entry to the Red Dead series is one that fits this mold to a T; A rag tag band of rebels, misfits and outlaws who run from town to town, with one thing on their mind: survival. Dutch and his crew have to meticulously find ways con, steal and kill with limited resources to survive in the dying Wild West of American in 1899; with the hope that hey can find a way out, so they don’t have to change.

Point being of this scattershot of thoughts is that video games are subjective, due to their nature as being a form of art. It’s okay to find flaws within a game that is truly great. For some people, slow burns aren’t their cup of tea. If you want to focus on flaws, focus on the clunkiness of character control, along with some of the physics involving your character interacting with NPCs; those aren’t as subject as your connection with a game. I’m planning on doing a follow up when I roll credits on the main story, so I can give a deeper dive of thoughts on the plot and how much it has sucked me in (so far that is); but hey, that’s just my opinion. I mean, this is art we’re talking about.

Gaming with Anxiety and OCD

Close your eyes for a second (just do me a solid, and throw me a bone on this one).

I want you to think about something you are passionate about. This could be anything; a hobby, your profession, a certain relationship; whatever.

Now, create subcategories about that passion. This could be done in multiple ways. You could make a pros and cons list, or a bullet point list breakdown of the composition of said passion.

You did that? Great! Now, take those subcategories and breakdown those. After that, then take those results, and give an outcome result for each of those. Following that, take those results, and for each one make a Venn diagram for each result.

Are you seeing a trend here?

You’re probably looking at that and thinking “well damn, I didn’t realize I was writing a graduate thesis on critical thinking in terms of ‘X'”. In following those preceding steps, while it might be rewarding for most people, it would still be time consuming right?

Now imagine doing all of that internally, in the span of seconds. Constantly. On repeat.

Doesn’t sound too interesting, especially in a positive light, does it?

It’s hard to put into words what it is like having anxiety issues, specifically related to OCD. Another way I try to explain anxiety and OCD to people is its relation to a ferris wheel. You start in one cart, and slowly it begins to load up different carts, until it is full and then just continuously revolves in the same circle over and over again. Your brain will start with one thought/idea, begin breaking down that idea, piece by piece, until you think you found the solution (or end) to it, only to then keep revolving around it.

So you’re probably asking: “How does this relate to gaming?” Well, I originally asked you to pick something you’re passionate about to evaluate. Me personally? Gaming is my passion.

I have been gaming for as long as I can remember (Big boy of 25 now. Never grow up, kids). But to answer the question on how this relates to gaming, one must travel back in time (que up that Back to the Future music, Doc) to understand how impactful gaming has been to my development into the man-child-boy I am today. There are multiple cliche answers to the “what’s your earliest memory of gaming?”, but I actually have three (just because I don’t know which one happened first, but they all had to be around the same age). The funny thing about these memories, is they all include my dad. I use that connotation, not as a negative, but in an ironic fashion, because my dad is the furthest thing from a “gamer”. He’s getting more and more acclimated to modern day technology as of late. He is now on Facebook with almost 60 friends, has a smart phone, and coming from someone who says they never wanted to be on “the grid”, he’s beginning to acclimate well; but point being, his hobbies never were based around it.

While I can’t confirm it’s for sure the first, I’m almost positive my first gaming memory is playing Kung Fu on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) with my dad. I couldn’t have been older than four. What’s weird about this scenario, is that neither of my parents were gamers but we had an NES in our home. No idea how it got there, but somehow it was there. I’m pretty sure it went to one of my grandparents’ houses shortly after, due to my next memory.

Following that was getting the Nintendo 64 for Christmas in 1997 or 1998, aka the BEST Christmas ever (outside of my fiancee and I getting engaged last Christmas season obviously…love you, don’t kill me). Even though I vaguely remember it, the one thing I do remember is my parents setting it up for me right after opening it up, and my dad and I playing Mario Kart 64 all morning. I could always tell my dad wasn’t crazy about video games, but he could tell how entranced I was over the medium, that he always was up to play with me.

The last memory may be my favorite though, due to how much of an effect this game had on me. I couldn’t have been older than five, and I had just heard about this game called the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I was at my cousin’s house, and I remember being in his room with him, and out of the corner of my eye I caught this shimmer of gold. I walk over to his pile of Nintendo 64 games, and pull out this gold painted cartridge, with a papyrus-styled label that read “the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time”. Noticing my sudden peak in curiosity, my cousin asked if I have played it yet, in which I replied no. Without even asking, he turned it on and let me play. From the moment that teal-tinted, polygon “Nintendo 64” came across the screen, followed by the patter of hooves and peaceful melody pouring from the speaking during the title screen, I was hooked. I just remember being so enthralled over just the idea of it; the storytelling, the pageantry, the mysticism (all of which I couldn’t contextualize like so until I was older). All I knew was that I needed this game. It wasn’t a want, it was a NEED. Being the obvious intellect I was at five, I already knew how to butter up my parents. So when my dad asked me to ride on the mower with him to cut grass, I instantly jumped on that 1-on-1 opportunity to do my sales pitch. I remember telling him about the game, and describing things in such detail, that any sane person would think this kid is probably crazy. But my dad, been the incredible person he is, must’ve seen how passionate I was about it. Naturally, like most parents do, he hit me with the “well, maybe if you’re good Santa Claus will bring you it.” My heart sank; not because I wouldn’t possibly get it (well, maybe a bit of that), but just because of the thought of time between that time and Christmas. It was at the latest mid-summer. That wait would’ve probably killed me. Luckily, my dad was sly enough to surprise me with it later that week. Still to this day, I hold that game as my personal favorite game of all time. Nothing touches it.

Now that all of that mumbo-jumbo is out of the way, let’s be real: What does that have to do with anything? It’s video games, who cares. Well, in terms of my personal composition, it actually has a lot to do with it. Since that first memory, I haven’t stopped gaming. Like I said, my parents weren’t gamers. They thought everything was either Mario or “Pokemans” (I grew up in the 90s and early 2000s, their assumption had a solid chance of being right more times than not, if I’m being honest); but they never discouraged my love for gaming. Did they limit it so I could focus on homework and for playing sports, hanging with friends, etc? Obviously. Every parent should, and I always did have other interests as well, but they never discouraged my passions. They always supported them, and as I continued to grow, gaming stayed as that passion and grew with me. From the Nintendo 64 to the Playstation 2 and PC gaming, to the Xbox and my love for a little unknown series called Halo, to then the Xbox 360 and Wii, to now the current generation (I own all platforms now. Being an adult with a decent income has some positives. Suck it, nerdz!); my passion for this beautiful expression of interactivity continued to blossom.

Let’s fast forward a bit now, to a ripe and fresh out of high school Travis. A few years ago, I was going through some changes. After my freshman year, I decided to transfer to a school closer to home, for a multitude of reason. During this process, I suffered from my first true battle with vivid and serious depression. Depression is funny, it doesn’t work like most illnesses do. It will sit and lay low, but fester consistently in the back of your head, like a parasite, sucking the happiness out of you (I promise this story gets better and isn’t that dark). Never have I ever been to the point where I wanted to take my own life, nor will I ever get to that point, but even though I never think that is the right choice to make, I can see why depression pushes people to that level. It’s like a blanket that can suffocate you at times. Over the past few years though, I’ve found out that I have had anxiety related issues that have been causing me this, and a lot of it leads to the condition known as obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD.

Most people have probably heard of OCD. In all seriousness, it is an extremely common condition, that many people go un-diagnosed with and can live completely normal lives. I’d like to think I’m one of those people. Mental illnesses, for the most part, aren’t like a broken bone, or high blood pressure, where doctors can visible see through various metrics what is causing the issues you are having. Now, everything comes with exceptions, and in some cases one visible thing could be playing into various mental illness issues, but more often than not, a doctor can’t just take a peak at you and say “yup, you’re depressed” or “oh yeah, you definitely have anxiety related issues”. It just doesn’t work like that.

It’s something that is addressed via a multitude of methods. The biggest thing you can do is to talk to someone. Period. Holding back just helps inhabit and grow the issues at hand. You specifically see this in males, where you’re taught to be strong and that talking about your feeling or showing emotions at times makes you a “pussy” or a “bitch”. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m grateful that I have parent who have always taught me to never be ashamed to express what you’re feeling; that nothing is ever as bad as you think it is. The first time I talked to a therapist about my depression and anxiety related issues in 2012, I stopped going after the second session. I went in the next session on a “up” day and felt that I had defeated whatever it was that was making me feel anxious and depressed, when in all reality I just didn’t want to talk about how I was truly feeling. Don’t do that, don’t stop after one try. It takes time, because guess what? Those feelings? Yeah, they came back (shocker, I know).

Then, there’s medication. There might be a bigger misconception over anti-depressive medication comparative to everything else in this ecosystem. People think you just pop a pill and you’re good in a day or two. Yeah, that’s just not the way it works. Straight up not the case, at all. Most anti-depressives take months to see changes in mood or anxiety levels, and due to our instant-gratification-oriented society, many never stay with it long enough to see those results. Not to mention there are like seven trillion different kinds. This one helps with mood swings, but you can’t get an erection. This one lowers anxiety levels, but you can’t sleep (most do help with sleep…you get what I’m trying to say). If you think you’re experiencing issues with your mental health, don’t expect to find the right medication for you right off the bat (at least more often than not. Remember, there’s always an exception). Both therapy and medication are only useful if you’re willing to let them work, and that all relies on talking and opening up.

For as long as I can remember, gaming has been the way I cope with my mental health issues. If I ever feel like I’ve had a long day, or that I’m stressed about something, I chill out, pop a game in and zone out for a couple of hours. But sometimes, that can work against you. I will start obsessing over time. How much time am I spending playing games? Is that enough? Is that too much? Am I not doing something I should be? What do people think about me liking this? Am I not doing what people think I should be doing? All of this is over my favorite entertainment medium. It sucks. While I know those are all irrational things and methods of logically addressing things, the way that my brain diagnoses these situations is in the ferris wheel metaphor; a continuous loop. In these instances, I will crunch numbers and overreact to the clock, as if it was a race to a certain time limit that I have, instead of enjoying this art (yes, video games are a form of art, quote me) that the developers, publisher, marketing teams, etc have dumped thousands of hours into making.

In a weird way though, my OCD tenancies have made me more detail oriented (not worth the headaches though, trust me). I’m inclined to finish more games in a complete fashion now. I go out of my way to try to be perfect in an area. I try to get all of the collectibles, if it isn’t a drag to do. Little things like that, which force me to get more out of the game and appreciate all of the detail the developer put into the product. Along with that, I focus on trying to get more trophies (Playstation) and achievements (Xbox). I love pulling up a trophy/achievement list for a game and just setting goals for myself to achieve. It’s one of the weirdly gratifying feelings in games, that you normally don’t get anything from; you can’t spend Xbox gamerscore on anything, same with Playstation trophies. It’s just one of those things that scratches that completionist itch I have now. Recently, the PS4 exclusive Mavel’s Spider-Man, by Insomniac Games, was so awe-inspiring and captivating, that I went out of my way to make sure I got the Platinum trophy (100%ing the base game). That was my first platinum trophy. Honestly, I never thought I’d want to do that. It always seemed to long and drawn out, but with the always evolving games industry, more games are becoming deeper and more polished that it makes you want to explore each nook and cranny. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I finish ever game I buy (although I am more buyer conscious now). As my guy Greg Miller, the IGN legend and Kinda Funny ring leader (check them out, they’re amazing) says “there’s too many games and no time for bad games”.

But how do I handle when anxiety and my OCD get in the way of enjoying my passions? Just like I do with most of my problems: talk it out. And if there is no one there to do that, guess what? Talk to yourself. No, I’m serious, talk to yourself. People will think that sounds crazy, but don’t lie, we’ve all done it. Christ, I think I talk to myself more than anyone on the planet. I think that’s why I enjoy streaming so much when I have the time to do so. I get at MOST 10 people watching at a time (I think my average is 5 or something. I know, big shit poppin’ homie). A lot of the time I’m just talking to talk; to be heard in some capacity, even if it’s just by big old T-White himself. Just getting something that is stuck in your head out that is bothering you does wonders, man. Kinda like in that Spongebob episode where his breath stinks and he thinks he is ugly and doing the “I’m ugly and I’m proud!” yell (I’ll embed that video below just because Spongebob is the man). And if you’re pissed off, grab a pillow and scream as loud as you can into the sum bitch. Let it out. It feels amazing, man.

Most importantly, you know what the biggest thing suggestion I can make for what I do (and sometimes need to do more of) to help in these situation? It’s simple: Do whatever you do that makes YOU happy. Not anyone else. If beat-boxing is your thing, you do you. If working out and eating clean (personally , Team Fat lifetime member here, but I respect you), you do you. If playing the fiddle naked is your thing (while probably illegal to do outdoors, keep it inside cuzzo), you do you. Personally, I’m a big old nerd. I love playing video games. It’s hands down, my favorite entertainment mediums, and right now we are in a new golden age of gaming (remember, there are always exceptions). There are so many beautifully crafted stories and worlds, realized at an impeccable level of detail and grandeur, that there is no time better start or continue gaming. Gaming is my thing, and guess what? I don’t give a shit what anyone thinks, and neither should anyone else about anything you like. YOU. DO. YOU.

I’ll be honest, I’m not completely sure why I wrote this. I for sure wasn’t looking for any kind of sympathy. I guess it was to just let people know that if you’re struggling from a mental health related issue, and it is affecting the things you love, that you’re not alone; and that it sucks, and I may not have the answers, but I know somethings work for me and may work for you. In any capacity, mental health awareness should be at an all time high right now. It’s real. It’s not a joke. Suicide in relation to mental illness is even realer. We as a society need to wake up and realize what is going on, and reach out a hand.

No matter what though, always remember:

You are NEVER alone.

You are ALWAYS worth it.

Things are NEVER as bad as they seem.

Things will ALWAYS get better.

You are ALWAYS loved.

It is OK to be NOT OK.

And most importantly, it is OK to enjoy the things you enjoy.

Nintendo Direct (3/8/18) Predictions & Rumors

Nintendo finally did it.

 

After almost two months of waiting (post 1/11 Direct Mini), Nintendo is finally planning to flesh out more of their 2018 lineup to the public with a full-fledged Direct. Fans on social media, r/NintendoSwitch, ResetEra, and the like have been waiting with bated breath to hear what is on deck for the rejuvenated gaming company in 2018, especially on their smash hit hybrid system, the Nintendo Switch.

The company’s North American Twitter and Facebook accounts posted the following graphic, announcing the streaming event, yesterday morning:

nintendo

While this past January’s Direct Mini provided fans with some answers to 2018’s road map for the company, it also left everyone with a lot of questions to be answered. No mention of the previously announced Metroid Prime 4 and new core Pokemon RPG game. No mention of the possible (one would think eventual and probable) Super Smash Bros sequel/port. No mention of the Switch’s permanent online structure, and what features will be included with it. Sure, we got a lot of good ports, such as DKC: Tropical Freeze and Hyrule Warriors, and not to mention some solid third party surprises, specifically Dark Souls Remastered (your boy has yet to play a Soulz game, so I’m salivating at the chance to get dome rocked by this beauty); but at the end of the day, the Mini left most fans feeling…underwhelmed.

This is the NEW Nintendo. This isn’t 2012 Nintendo, selling you a system that you weren’t sure if it was an add on to the previous console, or a new generation at all. This is the Nintendo that came out saying this system isn’t a multimedia device; it’s a GAMING deivce, and not some toy, but a legitimate piece of technology. Fans saw arguably not one, but TWO of the best games of all time release in a single year for the Switch. Not only that, but they saw a company that provided a big, first party title each month and a plethora of third party games to the little hybrid that could. This Nintendo is one that is trying to remind it’s core audience: we’re here to play, and COMPETE with the other kids on the playground.

That being said, it did leave fans in a bit of a lull in the first few months of the new year, in terms of news for the system. But that is behind us now, and in a few short hours, the flood gates are going to be open (well, at least cracked a bit to let a breeze in). So let’s dive into some rumors and predictions.

 

RUMORS

As with every rumor, take these with a grain of salt. Below are the current rumors running around, via RestEra:

January
-[1st] ERA John Harker claims the January Direct will be on the 11th. (Source) *Confirmed
-[2nd] Reddit DasVergeben claims the Virtual Console, Metroid Prime 4, Animal Crossing, Pokemon, Dragon Quest 11, Undertale and GTA5, will have some presence on the January Direct. (Source) *Incorrect
-[2nd] Reddit DasVergeben claims Rockstart is working on another game other than GTA5, probably Red Dead Redemption. (Source)
-[2nd] Reddit DasVergeben claims Killing Floor 2 is coming in 2018. (Source)
-[2nd] Reddit DasVergeben claims Injustice 2 is coming. (Source)
-[2nd] Reddit DasVergeben claims Call of Duty is coming with HD Rumble. (Source)
-[2nd] Reddit DasVergeben claims Undertale is coming. (Source)
-[2nd] Reddit DasVergeben claims Fortnite is coming. (Source)
-[2nd] Reddit DasVergeben claims tinyBuild is porting a few of their older titles, along with Hello Neighbour. (Source) *Confirmed
-[3rd] EmilyRogers claims SNK has a new game planned with a possible reveal during the rumored January Direct (Source). –> SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy is announced on the Jan 11th Direct. *Confirmed
-[4th] Verified reddit user claims Bayonetta 3 will release in 2018, possibly a Summer release. (Source)
-[5th] Switch OS 5.0 video leaks (Source) *Fake
-[5th] Nintendo’s Norway distributor claims Bayonetta 3 and Prime 4 will release in 2018. Statement was deleted afterwards. (Source)
-[7th] Twitter MysticDistance claims Final Fantasy 15 is in development and there might be an announcement about it this year. (Source)
-[9th] Nintendo posts a series of cryptic tweets, seemingly in response to Resetera’s January Direct speculation thread (good recount of the events here). Gamestop also tweets about the Nintendo Direct, but deletes it right away.
-[11th] ERA King Zell hints a “World Ends With You” game right before the rumored Mini Direct (Source). –> TWEWY Final Remix is is announced on the Jan 11th Direct. *Confirmed
-[11th] ERA Jonneh hints at Mario Tennis Aces right before the rumored Jan 11th Mini Direct. (Source) *Confirmed
-[11th] ERA ZhugeEX teases something about Funky and Donkey Kong ten minutes before the Direct (Source). –> Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze is announced on the Jan 11th Direct. *Confirmed
-[11th] Nintendo releases a Mini Direct without prior announcement.
-[11th] Kotaku UK claims Bandai Namco plans to eventually bring all three Dark Souls. (Source)
-[11th] Reddit user claims their store Switch will get a huge demo and video update on the 22nd. (Source) *Fake
-[12th] Australian retailer Sanity lists South Park The Fractured but Whole for release on March 13th. (Source)
-[14th] ERA Chrom claims that there’s a small Direct (or announcement video) happening on the week of Jan 15th-19th (Thursday most likely) (Source 1) (Source 2). UbiSoft employee tweeted on the 16th that something Nintendo related will happen in a few days. (Source) ->> Wed 17th: Nintendo Japan tweets announcement of a “New Play” presentation for the 17th (Thursday 18th in Japan), other regions see similar tweets from Nintendo. Nintendo Labo is announced. *Confirmed
-[14th] ERA Chrom claims there is going to be a Direct in February (Source). Same info from Twitter MysticDistance (Source). The Direct will show a new Fire Emblem and “a green dinosaur and an RPG involving slimes”. (Source) *Incorrect
-[15th] ERA Emily claims more rumored Ubi, Square Enix, Namco games will be announced later this year. (Source)
-[15th] ERA King Zell claims there’s a SquareEnix game coming that has never been on a Nintendo system before. (Source). Claim amended, the SquareEnix IP has been on a Nintendo system before. (Source)
-[16th] ERA Plankton2 found a south African retailer listing Project Cars 2. It is unknown when the retailer added the Switch entry. (Source)
-[16th] Reddit user posted images of a Nintendo of Europe survey that lists Bayonetta 3 and Pokemon RPG for a 2018 release. (Source)
-[18th] Russian reddit user claims to work on a store that has received a Nintendo mailing list that shows Little Nightmares coming. (Source)
-[18th] Gematsu reports Wild Guns Reloaded has been rated (Source). –> Game is announced on the 25th for all regions. *Confirmed
-[18th] Max Arguile from GB Eye claims on the Licensing Source Book Europe that Crash N.Sane Trilogy will come (Source)
-[19th] Gadgets reports made-in-India games could come to Switch based on a Facebook post from Indian developer Holy Cow Productions which was visited by Nintendo. (Source)
-[24th] ERA Ehoavash claims a port of the Wii U Smash Bros will come in 2018. (Source)
-[24th] ERA Ehoavash claims New Super Mario Bros. U Plus port is coming too. (Source)
-[28th] Nintendosoup reports of a reddit user that claims French retailer Micromania listed Danganronpa V3 coming to Switch. (Source) *Fake

February
-[3rd] Twitter Marcus_Sellars claims Call of Duty Black Ops 4 is coming with HD Rumble, and Motion Controls. (Source)
-[3rd] Twitter Marcus_Sellars claims Nd Cube is making Mario Party 11 for 2019 (Source). He released more specific details about the game here (Source). Tweets have been deleted since then.
-[6th] Youtube Doctre81 found a Namco Singapore LinkedIn profile listing a 1st Person Adventure, and Ridge Racer 8 coming exclusively (Source). Eurogamer confirms it’s Prime 4 a few days later. (Source)
-[13th] Finland’s Gamestop lists De Blob 1 & 2, then removes the listing. (Source) *Confirmed
-[17th] Germany’s USK has given Yesterday Origins a classification. (Source)
-[18th] Amazon Mexico now lists South Park The Stick of Truth. (Source)
-[19th] Neoseeker claims Diablo 3 is coming with local co-op (Source). A few days later Blizzard’s twitter posts a Diablo lamp switching off and on. Then denied the game was coming. (Source)
-[22nd] ShonenGamez claims Naruto: Ultimate Storm Trilogy is coming. (Source) *Confirmed
-[23rd] Reddit DasVergeben claims a single player JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is in production. (Source)

March
-[6th] DirectFeedGames claims a Call of Duty will come in 2018. (Source)

 

Ok, so that’s a bit of a mouthful. The biggest rumors making the rounds currently, in my opinion are:

  • Smash sequel/port launching along the Online Service this year.
  • Metroid Prime Trilogy in HD being pumped out this year, Prime 4 next year.
  • Bayonetta 3 dropping this year, possibly revealed pre-E3

Most recently, this little tidbit popped up on RestEra, claiming that the new core Pokemon RPG for Switch will be a reboot for the series. Personally, I’d love this. I haven’t truly played a Pokemon game since Emerald, but recently have started playing Y on my 3DS and loving it. With that being said, I’m all in on a reboot. There are over a thousand Pokemon now, and while the new content is awesome and provides depth to the series, the formula has began to run its course. The Switch is specifically being marketed to the 18-35 age demographic. Look at their marketing from this past year and tell me otherwise. While they are now moving into the casual audience demographic with Labo and other announcements, the focus is on the college to young professional age. Nostalgia only carries so much weight, but if you bring back Kanto and the original 151 and put that into UE4, woah.

 

PREDICTIONS

 

I’m going to keep this pretty quick and simple, since I feel like I’ve written a novel already and I plan to write a recap tonight on the event itself. I’m going to include a mesh of what I think is expected or safe, and what I think is outside chance. With that being said, here is my official predictions for how the show will go:

3DS

  • A reminder for Detective Pikachu launching this month, relatively quick but hits on a lot of main points. (Safe)
  • One or two other AA games announced/shown, possibly Dragon Quest 11 but could be something else with name value that is third-party. (Safe)
  • The rumored Link’s Awakening remake in the Link Between Worlds engine (outside chance)

Switch (Safe)

  • Reminder of Kirby Star Allies releasing next week. Quick and to the point, with possibly a new mode shown off. (Safe)
  • Mario Tennis Aces gets a decent chunk of time. Not outrageous, but over five minutes. New story mode shown off, a good look at the roster, and gets a release date of June at the latest. (Safe)
  • Mario Odyssey premium DLC is announced, which was possibly leaked on Twitter yesterday. Two packs, first launches this spring in April. Supposedly Luigi’s Mansion themed for the first, which would be dope. (Actually going “Safe” on this one. Seems DLC would be obvious for this game)
  • Third party reel of games is shown, and Wolfenstein 2 gets a Switch exclusive trailer/gameplay, along with Dark Souls Remastered. Surprise third-party announcement: South Park: Stick of Truth AND Fractured But Whole. (Safe)
  • Surprise Reveal: Fire Emblem for Switch. Vandal Leaks again posted some leaked info on this, stating the subtitle of the game would be “Elegy for the Brave”, but also states that this may just be an internal working title. To be honest, this is the safest bet for a surprise reveal. Not only has the game been slated for a 2018 release, but we have yet to receive ANY info on it whatsoever. Plus, while the Fire Emblem series is one of Nintendo’s most beloved franchises with their core audience, it doesn’t have the same impact as Mario, Zelda, and Smash, so an E3 announcement as their major blowout game doesn’t make sense, so today seems like the perfect fit. I believe the “Summer 2018” release window, but I’d count on it being late summer. (Safe)

Switch (Outside Chance)

  • Smash port/sequel is announced TODAY. While announcing it today would give Nintendo time to flesh the game out and have the big blowout at E3, I think it’s just too early to do it. I still think it’s coming this year, alongside the Online Service in September.
  • New core Pokemon RPG revealed today. While we are just inside the normal Pokemon announcement time frame, the Pokemon Company and Game Freak usually do their own thing and have their own Directs to announce games. Still a chance this comes out this year, but I think if the rumors of the reboot are true, I can see 2019 being more plausible.
  • Online Service information. I think we get a full blowout of the service at E3. Makes the most sense, as the hype window for what they could do with it is smaller than a game.
  • Virtual Console. Yup, still holding out for a sliver of hope.
  • Metroid Prime 4. It’s just not happening here today. This is E3-level reveal. We’ll see it in June, with possible game play for 2019.

Well, there you have. Looking forward to seeing what I get wrong at 5 PM (waiting until I get to my fiancée’s place to watch it around 7:30 or so. I’ll be going off the grid pretty soon so I don’t get spoiled).

Whether we get a sub-par show, or one that blows the socks off of us, it’s always a fun ride leading up to Directs. Plus, you know what’s the best part? This new Nintendo leaves us with so much to look forward to continuously.

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