The end of the year usually means everyone and their dog is doing some kind of year in review or “Best of The Year” list for various items.
Maybe it is just my internet habits these days or perhaps I just didn’t keep up much with news in the last few weeks of 2018 but it felt to me like that such lists were not as prevalent this year. There were only a couple places where I saw lists posted and ended up actively searching the last week or so back in various places to see what offerings they selected. It just didn’t seem like there was much discussion happening about the year in gaming.
Then I realized: “Hey! I’m a Pietriot! I don’t have to read all these best of lists like a shlub anymore. I can just write my own and have people read my list for once instead of reading theirs!” After thinking my life had gone off the rails like a runaway train which rolled down a mountainside tossing out passengers left and right while others were trapped in the dining car being cut over and over by thousands of flying shards of glass and china then hitting a big rock lopping off the last four cars which tumbled into a dark crevice with lava at the bottom completely burning them from existance while the remaining cars rolled into nuclear waste and killed everything they came in contact with by the high radiation emanating from them as they kept rolling down the steepening mountainside only to gain enough speed to launch in the air and come crashing down on hundreds of rare endangered mountain goats thus wiping that species from existence and still continuing to roll even faster right into a dam destroying it and setting loose a tidal wave of water that leveled eight cities along its river path only to finally and mercifully come to a stop from rolling at the bottom of the valley right onto another set of train tracks for which all the wheels on the cars still fit perfectly thus allowing it to gain momentum on the tracks so that the train can continue its journey is how I would compare that moment of realization.
Without further adieu, here’s my list of the best games of 2018 for all you posting-deficient sheeple out there unable to form your own lists.
Best Games of 2018
Now, joking aside, I only say that because looking through what I played this year, I didn’t play a single game in 2018 that was actually released in 2018. So, at this point, I have no comment on the games of 2018. Therefore, while I started out this article talking about Best of the Year lists for 2018, it was really a trick to just talk about my own play history for 2018 and what I did. And since you’ve read this far, you might as well keep on going now until the end to see how I carved out my own path of playing titles from as recent as 2017 to as far as 1995. Over two decades of gaming in one year!
The Games I Did Play in 2018
Pocket Card Jockey
My Nintendo Picross: The Legend of Zelda – Twilight Princess
Phoenix Wright: Spirit of Justice
Mighty Switch Force
Chibi-Robo: Photo Finder
Rhythm Heaven Megamix
Nintendo Badge Arcade
Donkey Kong Land
Donkey Kong Land 2
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon
The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes
Metroid Prime: Federation Force
Super Smash Bros. For 3DS
Mario Kart 7
Kirby Mass Attack
Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Mario Party 7
Now some of these games I fully finished, some I beat but didn’t quite complete and others I just played for a few short bursts because I’d played them lots before such as Mario Kart 7 or Smash Bros. 3DS.
I felt like I accomplished more than this but I guess it’s just because some of these games took a long time to finish. Even though I may have been playing a lot more than I have in the past couple years, it was getting consumed by a select few. Now, I could start breaking that list down more but I’d rather do separate entries / Pietriots articles on most of those titles so I’m just going to make this one quick breakdown about the list. Games I really enjoyed playing: Phoenix Wright: Spirit of Justice, Mighty Switch Force, Rhythm Heaven Megamix, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, LoZ: Triforce Heroes, Metroid Prime: Federation Force, LoZ: Breath of the Wild and Super Smash Bros. Melee. Games that I didn’t really like all that much: Cooking Mama, Rhythm Heaven, and Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story. Everything else was in that middle zone of a mix of good and bad that kept me from hating it but also kept me from being highly positive about it also.
One thing this article made me wonder is whether I’m the anomaly here or whether a lot of gamers out there don’t play new games right away and mainly play catch up on other older titles through a year. I do see some people that will primarily play games as they get released in a year but is that normal or the common experience for most? I get it if they are trying to review games or be the first to do some Let’s Play videos because there is a monetary aspect they are chasing by playing things early. If someone doesn’t have that objective, are they going to keep up with new games as much? I’m content to wait for sales or games to come down in price and there are few games I want right away when they release. Yet, it’s starting to seem like I’m the only one with a gaming habit like that.
Aside from causing me to question whether I need to contemporize in the games I’m playing, there were some other noteworthy events and gaming realizations that occurred for me during 2018 and I’m going to now detail what these were. These are the things that will rattle around in my brain now whenever I think of gaming details for the past year.
I’d say handheld gaming was the biggest trend for me even though I hardly play handheld games outside of my home. These games were all primarily played with me either lying across my bed, sitting on the couch or maybe on the crapper. Don’t judge! There is no battle for the TV at my place. I could play as much console gaming as I want. Yet, the ease of portability to keep gaming and do so in relaxed positions seems to be winning out over the idea of being stuck in a certain spot for console gaming. Not that I completely quit console gaming altogether this year but it was basically dominated by Breath of the Wild. I achieved the 100% completion of finding Korok seeds as well as finishing all the DLC and my final playtime on that was just under 400 hours. I can’t believe I spent that much time on it. I thought about playing other console games but then I’d always feel I was close to finishing some objective in BotW and just kept playing through it. Hilariously, I finally peeled off the plastic wrapper and played NintendoLand for the first time this year despite getting it with my Wii U some five years ago. I was looking through my game collection to find a game to play with a friend and used the opportunity to play that game at last. The other console games I played for just a couple days or when some friends were over as well. Nothing major. Based on my gaming of 2018, I’d say Nintendo’s decision to make the Switch a hybrid should be a winner with me and more likely to play through games on it than if it was just a console only.
Least Surprising Development
But the true least surprising development is that I finally did buy a Switch this year. It was always a given I’d pick one up especially when Super Mario Odyssey launched last year. I purchased it just a little bit into November. There was a really good deal that met the criteria I had set in my mind about what I wanted to pay which was why I had been holding out so long on buying it. I haven’t really put much time into it yet. Instead, I lent it to a relative so that they could play Breath of the Wild on it since that was one of the games it came with when I purchased it and I was still working on finishing up that game on the Wii U copy I had. My relative finally finished with the game and system at the end of December so I’ve got it now and it now looms large of what I expect to be playing in 2019.
It was either September or October but I was doing a daily check of a website with free classified ads. I like to check it often in case some kind of Nintendo product pops up that I may want to purchase like a new game or what I bought in my Favorite Acquistion section of this article. In this case, I was checking the site and there was an ad for a Virtual Boy complete with its box and packaging along with 4 games in mint condition for $150. The ad had been up for perhaps 8 minutes. There was no phone number listed and I checked through the sellers other ads but no number was listed there either. So, I sent out an e-mail and hoped I was fortunate enough to have stumbled on this find before anyone else. Although Wario Land VB wasn’t one of the games listed, I was already picturing myself getting that game and playing it along with the other four. I wasn’t sure I’d want to keep the Virtual Boy much after playing through these games but then I could always sell it again for the $150 plus the cost of the Wario Land VB and not have it cost me anything. Alas, 4 hours later, I finally got a reply back from my e-mail with the seller stating they had already sold it and it seemed to be a popular item. I wonder why. Might it be because Virtual Boys in that shape don’t often go for that price? We may never know the true answer to this mystery just as I don’t know what I could have done better or how I was beaten to it. Even now, it still stings thinking about that missed opportunity.
On the other hand, earlier this summer, while looking at the classified ads on this site, I saw a listing from someone selling a whole big stack of their Nintendo Power issues for $50. The issues span from 49 – 145 with three issues missing in between. Basically, they cover from a bit after Star Fox SNES released in North America with Link’s Awakening for GB about to launch to just a few months before the launch of the GameCube and cover that 7 year span in between. The ironic thing is that for awhile I’ve been thinking of trying to get the back issues of Nintendo Power that cover the GameCube era as I’d like to revisit and go through that time in depth a bit more and the issues of Nintendo Power I owned from when I subscribed are basically at the tail end of the GameCube when Donkey Kong Jungle Beat came out all the way until the end of of Nintendo Power’s run when the Wii U just launches. I wasn’t really looking for issues before that but now I’ve got most of them and the GameCube gap remains for now. Still, I’ve really enjoyed flipping through various issues and getting a better look at games I didn’t know existed or just knew by title but never looked into. It’s also made me appreciate at how much better Nintendo Power became when I started subscribing to it.
This Year’s Weather Channel Replacement App
A little explanation here first. From around the time of the Wii when Nintendo had the News Channel, Weather Channel, and Everybody Votes Channel, there have been various apps and games that cause me to check in on a Nintendo system to keep up with them. Sometimes, I didn’t even play anything that day but I still logged on for that specific reason. Since then, there have been things like Swapnote, Streetpass and Miiverse. However, pretty much all of these things are dead. Haven’t seen a streetpass for around nine months, at least. That said, I’ve found something else to keep me checking in with my 3DS daily still and that is Nintendo Badge Arcade.
Now, this isn’t exactly a new program. It’s been out for a couple years. I did download it when it first came out and played it for a few days but the whole thing just seemed to embody that mobile gaming cliche of micro-transactioning the player to death nor did I really care that much about decorating my 3DS with badges so I just stopped using it and continued on with Streetpass and Miiverse. Well, before Miiverse closed, I remember seeing how a person I followed on there actually completed getting all the badges in Nintendo Badge Arcade and they said they didn’t spend anything to do it. That stuck with me and, when I decided to start clearing through a bunch of the games I had downloaded on my 3DS from the eShop, I saw this app still sitting there and finally felt like loading it up and trying it again. This second time around, it has become a daily ritual for me now. Yes, it can be frustrating sometimes in how it deals out free plays or how a catcher can play out but I’ve been slowly chipping away at it anyways and there have been some days where that’s all I played for the day. It’s a quick activity and, even though I’m nowhere close to getting them all, I have made some progress in completing a few series and haven’t grown tired of it yet.
It had to happen at some point, I suppose, but it is still sad to see that the 3DS is pretty much at an end. Unless Nintendo really wants to beef it up and relaunch the brand and compete with itself and the Switch then 2018 seems to have marked the end for the 3DS. I know it still had games come out for it this year and there are still a few more titles coming to it in 2019 but software sales for the system are pretty much showing that it is no longer the force it once was and people are ignoring it over the PS4, Switch and, I guess, Xbox One titles.
I commented on this fact in October but I’ll post what I said here in this article for posterity. Despite what should be a large userbase for the 3DS, game sales on it are dropping off. Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are the only games pretty much selling on it for the past year as shown by their constant domination of the top two spots in best-selling 3DS software each month in NPD figures. WarioWare Gold, perhaps the most prolific 3DS title by Nintendo this year, being unable to crack the number one spot in July or August NPD for 3DS game sales is just further proof of that. WarioWare Gold, Sushi Striker, Captain Toad, Detective Pikachu, The Alliance Alive, Radiant Historia, Shin Megami Tensai, Kirby’s Battle Royale, Dillon’s Rolling Western 3, Style Savvy 4. None of them are doing much in sales and if a game also has an equivalent on the Switch like Sushi Striker than it has higher software sales on the Switch despite the Switch having a smaller userbase than the 3DS. Even going back to last year, Hey! Pikmin!, Ever Oasis, Miitopia, Lady Layton, Monster Hunster Stories, Etrian Odyssey V, Superstar Saga, and Fire Emblem Warriors came and went pretty fast with many either disappearing after a month in the 3DS NDP top ten or unable to even crack the top spot for long. One of the few 3DS titles to even make the NDP all around top 20 last year and debuting in the 12th spot on that list was Metroid: Samus Returns. It fell from the NDP top 20 then next month and just showed up at second place in the top ten 3DS games sales. Then it disappeared from the top ten 3DS sales after that.
Now, there are a lot of things people can argue about in regards to this downward 3DS software trend since much of the software in 2018 consists of digital only games, ports, remakes or budget releases. Yet, since that is mainly what Nintendo and third parties have been releasing for the past year on the 3DS then they clearly don’t have high expectations that new original games are going to sell well on it anymore. Considering that most of these new releases are getting outsold by Smash Bros. 3DS, Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7 and Minecraft which stay in the top ten of 3DS sales month after month while the new titles disappear, it’s hard to argue they’re wrong. How many sales do you think some of those old games are actually making per month? Yet they are doing better than a lot of this newer software is able to sell. Surprisingly, the only other recent title besides Pokemon Ultra that seems to have some staying power is Mario Party The Top 100. No idea what its total sales might be. It never cracked the NDP top twenty when it debuted and just placed 5th in top ten 3DS software sales that first month of release. Still, it has pretty much stayed around that mark each month in the top ten of 3DS sales since. In any case, the 3DS just seems to be a market of late, late adopters picking up a system and now getting around to some of the older titles. With what Nintendo and third parties have coming up for the system in 2019 (which is very little), I doubt any of those games are going to be big sellers either. The majority of software sales seems to have migrated to the Switch so it just makes sense to go all in on it now with software production.
As shown by my gaming this past year, I’m not through with the 3DS yet. I’ve still got a lot more software to play on it. I’m still a huge backer of the 3D effect it gives to games which has kept me playing it more than I’ve played my Wii or Wii U since the 3DS was released. For me, gaming in the 20-teen decade will have been dominated by the 3DS. With the decade now coming to a close, I suppose it is fitting that it should mark the end of the 3DS now as well. While the Switch will probably put up a good fight based on the software it has released and is planning to yet release, 3DS is the best system of this decade and easily in the top 3 of best Nintendo systems ever in my mind.
Most Wanted Gaming Accessories for 2019
1. A new battery for my Game Boy Micro. The thing can only hold a charge for like 10 minutes these days but its still the only way I want to play my GBA games. Might have finished Advance Wars this year with a working battery.
2. I’m just 15 Animal Crossing Amiibo Cards away from completing that collection. I’d like to get that wrapped up sooner than later.
3. Some colorful joycons. The Switch I got has the grey joycons. And sure, they work but I’d like to have some neon color controllers in my life. Just wish they weren’t so high priced.
Top 3 Games I’m Most Looking Forward to in 2019
- Yoshi’s Crafted World
- Luigi’s Mansion 3
- Metroid Prime 4 (although it might yet carry over to 2020)
Of course, there may be new announcements along the way to hype me up more than these (like an F-Zero GX successor) but based on what’s actually been announced, I’ll go with these three.
And that’s about it for now and all my take aways for 2018. Thanks for reading. As I game through 2019, I’m going to try and make the effort to post more about it on Pietriots and, if I do that well enough, then I can just make a quick list of links to all such articles I’d have already posted in case I do another year in review article like this. Internet recycling! Less internet trees being cut down to provide web pages to rewrite text on yet still keeping up content production.
I don’t normally solicit comments but, in this case, I do encourage any readers to feel free to post about their 2018 gaming such as what games you played or what was noteworthy to you. It would be nice to have an idea of what the readers here are into playing and their gaming interests which can help in crafting future articles. Or if there was a certain game in my list of games played this year you’d like to see get elaborated on further then I’ll be more likely to write up an article for that first before some of the others.
Thank you so much-a for to
playing reading my game article.