Mmmmm, nothing like that new track smell. It’s the perfect cure to that nauseating “new car” smell of freshly glued plastic. A new location is a little more refreshing to breathe in, and different to play. I can smell the ocean air and hear the breeze hit the mountain with a calming whoosh. After a somewhat reluctant installation, this is what Gran Turismo Sport needed to draw me in. This wonderful track called Dragon Trail. Where’s that? Nowhere. This is a brand new make-believe racetrack for GT Sport and it brings some much-needed identity to make this feel like a brand new special videogame. As someone who’s played every world circuit track in dozens of racing games before, the new tracks in GT Sport are exciting. Not just because of the new scenery, but it’s a brand new stimulating challenge with new corners and layouts to learn.
I don’t yet know what to make of The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa. Seemingly developed by one guy in Russia, The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa sees you play as a directionless high school thug who is threatened with expulsion from his school, which he hardly attends due to spending all his time getting into gang fights. It’s like a tribute to NES classic River City Ransom or some sorta slice of life anime like Cromartie High School which I’ve never watched but Deguello says is a parody.
A Mega Man clone for $5? Heck yeah! What could possibly go wrong? Well how about everything. I bought Metagal because of its price and felt a wave of regret almost immediately after seeing the first low quality cutscene art and blurry text. This is an unfinished game that lingered as a Steam green-light title for 3 years with no approval, and has now been dumped on consoles for a few bucks. The very first screen on the Switch version is a blurry Joycon Grip diagram with white background, and it doesn’t really get better in the cutscene. Instead of a full-blown review this is going to be a short impression piece, since I could only stomach playing 4 of the game’s 8 levels. There are zero reviews online listed on Metacritic so I feel a sense of duty to warn people about this game.
Warframe is a game that kept showing up in the ‘now playing’ status of long lost friends on Steam and Discord for a while now and another friend left a comment mentioning it on a Jacobin article about politics in games. I’d never bothered to actually find anything out about it though until today when I realised it had appeared on the Switch eshop, was free to play, and didn’t involve Nintendo’s extortionate online fee. I went in completely blind, not even reading the description, and this is how it felt.
We’re approaching the end of 2018 and I’ve just got myself a brand new Xbox One S, five years into the lifespan of Xbox One. It’s a new world for me as I’ve been playing nothing but Nintendo stuff for the last few years, having a great time it must be said. I never had a PS4 either so this is my first time dipping into the 2013 “next-gen” console family, which is now this-gen, or half-gen to the Pro and X which will be last-gen again next year. Phew. Whatever you want to call it, I have a lot of gaming to catch up on and I thought this was a unique perspective worth a little writeup. I was lucky enough to get my XB1S bundled with Red Dead Redemption 2 and Forza Horizon 4, two very expensive new release games. The whole bundle was $100-200 AU cheaper than a Switch or PS4 by themselves, which is ridiculous. Xbox is priced very well and has huge support in Australia, and I was in a good spot to take advantage of it. It just felt like the right time with Nintendo’s Switch holiday lineup mainly focused on two games I’m not that interested in. I got home with my new Xbox and it felt like Christmas again. The old, fun, child-like Christmas, not the new HD remake “Adult Christmas” which is full of disappointing social engagements. This was going to be fun on my own terms.
A week isn’t that long in the lifespan of console hardware, but I thought it was long enough to give more thoughts after my day 1 writeup. I’ve noticed more things, played more games, became a Pro, and felt more Joy. Perhaps the most significant thing however, is that I haven’t actually turned my Switch off. Sleep Mode is so good, that at first I didn’t even realise the difference between Power Off and Sleep Mode. It’s so good, that there IS no Power button on the console. If you want to power off you have to hold the Sleep button for 3 seconds, like some secondary function. Open your eyes, Switch.