Five Things I Like About the Nintendo Switch

Author: Nathan Doverspike

As I raised my fists in victory, glowing as I watched the Nintendo Live Press Conference for the Switch last night, I realized just how excited I am for this ambitious device.  While the design is sleek, the controllers look comfortable (if slightly diminutive), and it looks easy enough to handle, I can’t express enough how encouraging their initial first year lineup appears on paper (and via the streamed video).  Below are the five things that excite me the most about the Nintendo Switch.

  1. The Design

This one is an obvious first choice.  While initially skeptical of a design that closely mirrors the failed Wii U controller, the tablet itself appears thin and comfortable to hold (per recent sources).  While the Wii U had a good concept, I never quite understood the weight to the device, or the fact that it felt like my hands were always too far apart for it to feel like an actual controller.  Hopefully this one gets it right.

  1. The Detachable Joy-Cons

While most knew about the detachable Joy-Cons since the initial design was leaked, no one was able to report on how they felt or looked for sure.  Now, we know that there are “shoulder” buttons built in to the side for use when apart from the main console.  Also, you can hold them apart just like you could with the nunchuk and Wii remote.  The freedom that gives your hands is something no other console can offer, and that’s always a plus.

  1. The Launch Lineup

It was speculated that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild would miss the initial launch window.  Thankfully, our doubts were vanquished when Nintendo confirmed that it would, in fact, be released alongside the Switch (and this awesome collector’s edition is something to swing a sword at).

Also, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe looks beautiful and will release within two months of the console being available.  Breath of the Wild alone should be enough to satisfy the hardcore fans long enough for other promising titles to reach our anxious paws.

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  1. All of the Unique Games Announced

Now, I know that not all of the titles announced will be out anytime soon, let alone this year.  However, that doesn’t mean that a brand-new Shin Megami Tensei game on console or Fire Emblem Heroes isn’t enough to get me all fired up.  In particular, Super Mario Odyssey looks like a blast (minus the lifelike people in that trailer, boy they looked rough) and the super interesting Project Octopath Traveler have me licking my gaming chops.

  1. The Possibilities Ahead

This is my last point, and as such is somewhat ambiguous. Instead of focusing on a singular topic, I want to expand it to all the possibilities for this new console.  I know they haven’t announced or even mentioned Metroid yet, but how cool would it be to play a brand new Metroid game on a portable system that isn’t as limited as the 3DS?  To be able to take a console quality Metroid game on the go would be a dream come true!  Plus, with the added power,  the Switch could serve as a great return to form for a legitimate 2D Castlevania game that rivals SotN.

Those are my thoughts for now.  Feel free to comment or email us with any questions: officialgoldenagegamers@gmail.com

The Importance of a Good HUD

Author: Josh

This originally appeared on Josh’s blog on November 13th, 2014

Over the years many games have used different HUDs (Heads Up Displays) for players to know what is going on with their character in the game.  Some of those HUDs have more material than others.  The question that arises is which is a better HUD?

 A good HUD should show the players what they need to know, and not get in the way.  A life bar, ammo counter, mini-map, these are just a few examples of the bare essentials.  Let’s look at Megaman X as an example of a good HUD system.  The player has a life bar on the far left of the screen at all times.  In a plat-former, a player must always know what their life is at (with exception to games where the player dies after one hit), thus it should always be displayed for the player to know how they are doing.  Second in Megaman is the ammo counter.  Generally the player has unlimited base ammo, but limited special ammo.  Whenever the player engages a special weapon, the ammo counter appears next to the life bar.  The combination of both of these devices only takes up a small percentage of the screen allowing the player to focus on the task at hand.  The only other information that shows up on the screen (aside from text boxes) is the enemies health bar, which only appears when the enemy is on screen.  Even with all three bars, the screen is 95% visible.  This should set the bar for any HUD.  It should not cloud the players view of the game.

Another great example of a HUD system is Golden Eye for the N64.  Similar to Megaman, Golden Eye keeps only what is necessary on the screen.  In the bottom right, players can see their ammo counter.  Unlike Megaman, it isn’t a straight counter of how many shots remain, but a breakdown of what the player has in their gun, and what they have ammo wise in total.  It is very minimal allowing for a full viewing of the terrain around the player, but what about the player’s life?  Well, that is there too, but it only appears on the screen when it is decreasing or increasing.  When it isn’t changing, it fades from the players view.  The player only ever sees what is necessary.

 HUDs are becoming ever more present, and not just in video games.  Take a look at fighter jets & helicopters.  The military uses HUDs on most all of their air crafts.  The information displayed included an altimeter, an attitude reader, speed, and even an ammo counter.  Now I know what many of you are thinking.  “What if I don’t want to be in the military to use a HUD?”  Well, there is also applications being seen all over the civilian sector.  Perhaps one of the most popular version of a personal HUD device, is the Google Glass device.  This attachment provides it’s users with the ability to access Google from nearly every location, as well as a location feature and picture taking ability.  There we have it, the HUD is not just important in video games, but also has practicality in real life.  From the way things are looking, it would seem that in a few short years HUDs will be a normal part of everyday life.

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Table Top Games-A Guilty Pleasure

Author: Josh

This originally appeared on Josh’s Blog on December 18th, 2014

For years table top games have been a guilty pleasure of mine.  The artistry that goes into the pieces.  The ability to play anywhere you have a flat surface… or not if you enjoy using books and items as cliffs.  Table top games are in my opinion board games on crack.  A chance to leave the confines of a structured play through and explore strategy at it’s core.  A game of chess that is more true to combat strategy than the game with limited pieces.

When I say table top games, 2-3 games should stereotypically pop into everyone’s minds.  Starting with the most predominant, WarHammer.  This table top game has been in existence since around 1983.  A true testament to the genre itself.  This game allows players to assume the role of different factions of space marines and battle it out with friends in campaigns that can last days if not weeks.  More to the creative side of this game, players have the ability to paint/customize their soldiers when they buy them.  This allows players to immerse themselves in their army as they invest real time bringing the figurines to life.  The only downside of the game (which really isn’t a downside at all) is the cards that record stats.  There is a lot of information to remember.  Enter a game that takes the stat cards away and provides something a little more friendly to non die hard fans, Mage Knight.

Mage Knight takes the table top adventure to a new level.  Players can go out and purchase packs of figurines, some random booster packs of three, single serving random figurines, or even pre built 9 man armies.  Each has it’s own stat dial on the bottom of the figurine.  This allows players to play a table top game a little faster than what they would have normally, but also allows for ease of health and power tracking.  With each hit, the figurines stats change giving a semi realistic combat advantage of attacking first.  The other subtle part that Mage Knight added to the genre, was the random figurine factor.  Whether you play the game or not, some people out there will just want to collect the figurines by themselves.  Making them random adds a sense of gambling adventure into the equation.  This is a perfect combination for making sales on a product.  A gamer will never know what piece they are getting in a random pack.  They could buy five of them and end up with one rare (if they’re really lucky) or just five duds and still want to come back for more.  Hard to argue this sales gimmick.  Even for the people who just like the figurines, there are plenty of options to buy them separately, especially the tanks!  The tanks are just giant sized figurines that have multiple dials and have a large amount of life.  Although they are more expensive, with the artistic paintwork done and the huge stat increase, you really get what you pay for.

I myself am guilty of purchasing large amounts of Mage Knight figurines just trying to get the rare ones ( I was lucky enough on my first booster pack to get one).  After that I was hooked.  The game itself is a blast to play.  You can turn an ordinary dinner table into a heat of the moment battlefield in no time.  Using napkin holders for a height advantage, or even the salt shaker as cover, Table Top games have a true place among the great genres of games.

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