Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones – Virtual Gold

Right after beating my first Fire Emblem game, I was so hyped and excited that I started Sacred Stones the very next day. With the two GBA Fire Emblem games sitting right next to each other on my Wii U menu, it just felt right and I was carrying enough energy from the first game to keep going. Despite a familiar game engine on the same system; a whole new cast, new maps, different enemy designs and a modified gameplay structure made Sacred Stones feel fresh and exciting immediately. I’ve just beaten this game after another 30 hour journey and I thought I’d write about the differences while both games are fresh in my mind. I won’t talk too much about gameplay specifics since that took up most of my Fire Emblem 7 writeup, but I will talk about what makes Sacred Stones a bit different and special.

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Fire Emblem (GBA) – Initiation

After 12 deaths, 30 hours, and enough regret to fill a vulnerary flask, I have just beaten my first Fire Emblem game. With the series being more popular than ever and a recent sale on the Virtual Console, I decided I would try and get into the series. I picked up the self-titled GBA game (known as Fire Emblem 7 in Japan) on the Wii U a month ago and fell in love with it. It clicked from the first few chapters and I enjoyed the emotional rollercoaster all the way to the end. I had initially dismissed this series as something I wouldn’t enjoy, a blunt tactics game driven by RPG grinding with a typical cliche anime story. To be quite honest, I didn’t understand it. As soon as I started playing this game, I felt a warmth of forgiveness. As it turns out the gameplay had a ton of depth and surprises waiting for me, and the wonderful story and characters made every aspect of the mechanics feel strong and important. After a full hearty playthrough of the game, let me tell you what Fire Emblem now means to me.

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Miitomo – Friend Simulator

Did you know that Daze had Pepperoni Pizza for dinner last night? Andrew got a SNES for his birthday with Super Mario World. Aaron just finished rewatching Rick and Morty and thinks everyone should watch it. The furthest place Tina has been to is Thailand. Joseph is admittedly quite bad at golf, but he’ll try it again one day. Can you believe that Holly has 8 siblings? Kaylo’s favourite thing about dogs is their compassionate nature. Brian just wants somebody to love him. Awww.

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The Legend of Midna: Twilight Picross

Exclusive to the My Nintendo rewards program comes a new chapter in the Zelda series. For hardcore Nintendo fans only, this game takes place in a dark timeline where Link dies and the player never continues the game. Midna gets bored of waiting, and starts carving out numbers on the spines of soldiers. “Hold still!” Midna insists, as the frightened guard screams in agony from the Twilight Realm. He can’t even see what Midna is doing, as she chuckles from the realm of light. Convinced he’s gone crazy, the guard kills himself with his spear, plunging it straight through his heart.

Aw, you ruined my puzzle!” laments Midna. The spear went right though some of the numbers, but it gave Midna an idea. “I could combine numbers and lines to make interesting pictures!” Hooray! Welcome to My Nintendo Picross.

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Yoshi’s Story – Virtual Happiness

Once upon a time there was a game called Yoshi’s Story on N64. Kids around the world were delighted with what they saw. The Yoshis were pursuing happiness, and trying their best. To have as much fun as possible, on their brave quest. All the young gamers had a great time. Adults too, couldn’t help but smile.

All was going great until the climate changed. The big bad internet said it’s not a good game. Without enough sequels to Yoshi games, the children of Yoshi grew up in disdain. Gamers looked down from mountains of dew, with bags of doritos to hide the truth. This article is here to remind you cunts, that Yoshi’s Story is a lot of fun.

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FreezeME – Freeze U

There aren’t too many 3D platformers these days so I picked this up on the eShop without even looking at a review or caring about quality. FreezeME is an N64-inspired platformer in the most obvious way, directly ripping off the structure from Mario 64 and Banjo to create a non-linear 3D platformer with multiple objectives in each world. I’ve beaten the game now and had a bit of fun exploring the worlds, but the game has a lot of problems.

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Super Mario RPG – 20 Years Later

This game is an interesting and very important part of history. A landmark partnership between Square and Nintendo would see them go on to… well, do nothing, because Square fucked off to Sony after this game. You’re welcome. Nonetheless, it spurred an entire legacy of Mario RPG games, including the immediate follow-up Paper Mario, and 5 games in the Mario & Luigi series. When Square changed their ways, some of the Super Mario RPG staff actually left to form Alpha Dream, who are still creating Mario RPGs to this day. Even though Super Mario RPG was the very first Mario RPG, I had never played it until now because it never had an original SNES release in Europe and Australia.

Thanks to the Virtual Console, I picked this up on Wii U and had an absolutely wonderful experience discovering it for the first time in 2016. The art style did not look that impressive to me in screenshots, but it feels so much better when you get into the game. Once you start playing, everything comes to life like a beautiful story. The game is very well-designed and it struck such a chord that I got completely immersed and beat the game over the past week. So what’s so good about it? Let’s get into our first battle.

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Wave Race 64 – Return of the Champ

My name is Ryota Hayami. You might remember me as the two-time Wave Race world champion, but that was a long time ago. As a young kid I was insatiable and wanted to win every competition I could find. The sights were fresh, the scene was encouraging, and everything felt so new. Lately I’ve been kicking back and enjoying my new life as a fisherman. It’s a nice relaxed lifestyle, but I still think back to the glory days quite often. Sometimes I notice the waves ripple and it reminds me of when I was 18 years old, fighting for victories on my Jet Ski. The Jet Ski scene has changed a lot since then. Jet Skis of the modern era are quite complicated designs yet “easier” to ride, and for me that completely takes the thrill out of riding. Technology is so advanced now that the Jet Ski does everything for you, with auto-correction and elevation control becoming the standard. As a result, all the big dollar manufacturers were winning year after year, and there wasn’t much demand for good riders. Being a good rider now simply means showing up to as many PR events as possible. Not my life, man.

As fate may have it, I wasn’t the only person who longed for the glory days. On Friday morning I received a phone call from Kawasaki asking if I was fit for riding. They understood the struggle of true riders today and wanted to bring back the old feel. A tournament was to be held as a test to see how many people would support a change in Jet Ski design proposed for the 2017 season. They called it a “Virtual Console” championship and they have brought back all the old Jet Skis, while securing the rights to all the old locations. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Is this a dream? “No sir, we are serious about this. We have everything in place but the riders. We need you.

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Super Metroid – New for 3DS

In the recent Nintendo Direct, Nintendo announced SNES games for the N3DS would be available immediately with Super Mario World launching the service on the same day, and more to follow. In Australia, one of those early games was Super Metroid and I grabbed it ASAP with the dream of finally being able to play the US NTSC version of the game. That’s right, all SNES games on the EU / AU 3DS eShop are the 60hz American versions, making it the first time Super Metroid and Link to the Past have been available here in 60hz. Even though I’m pretty happy with the Wii U Virtual Console, for some reason we’re still stuck with the PAL versions of a few games. In my experience it’s not that big a deal for Zelda, but Super Metroid is a much more action-focused game, loaded with tons of precise tricks and wall jumps you can not afford to miss. So not only was I keen to experience SNES games on 3DS for the first time, but also discover Super Metroid in its original 60hz form.

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Super Mario Maker – 6 Months Later

Shortly after the launch of Super Mario Maker I did a write-up to share my experience with the game after the first week. It was an exciting time as we all learned the tools and discovered how much fun the concept is. However, it has evolved a lot since then with new tools added, some structural changes and a much larger community. I feel like enough has changed that another write-up is necessary, so Go-a-let’s! … Wait, I got that around the wrong way… drag this… move that. Let’s-a-go!

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Code Name S.T.E.A.M. – The President Needs You

Abraham Lincoln has assigned me a special mission, to tell the world about Code Name S.T.E.A.M. and recruit world class soldiers to fight the alien menace. I’ve been deployed to the internet and there are aliens everywhere, destroying objects and devouring information before they can process it. It’s quite clear they aren’t here to talk. I can’t take them on alone so I’ve taken cover in the Pietriots Bunker to refill my STEAM tank. My health is low, I’ve got no coins and there’s no restore point here. It’s just me and this STEAM powered Typewriter, so I better get to work.

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