All posts by themancalledscott

Born of cold and winter air and mountain rain combining, the man called Scott is an ancient sorcerer from a long-forgotten realm. He’s more machine now than man, twisted and evil. Or, you know, he could just be some guy who loves video games, animations and cinema who just wanted to write about such things.

Wayne’s World (SNES) Review


“NOT!”

Wizard Dojo

The 16-bit generation was something of a golden age in gaming. After years of perfecting the craft, developers seemed to have finally reached a level of quality in game design that is only in recent years being replicated in consistency.

However, even golden ages have their dark days. Even with the level of quality to be found in the 16-bit generation, a few stinkers still found their way. Among the worst of them is Wayne’s World, based on the popular comedy from the early 90s, which in turn was based on a Saturday Night Live sketch.

To be fair, Wayne’s World is at the very least playable… In the sense that it isn’t flat-out broken like Wizard of Oz on SNES or Dark Castle on Sega Genesis. Nor does it have a control scheme as utterly dumbfounding as Batman Forever on SNES. What places Wayne’s World in that same ballpark, however…

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Win, Lose or Draw (NES) Review


Wizard Dojo

Win, Lose or Draw on the NES is quite possibly the stupidest game I have ever played. It’s not the worst, mind you (though it’s probably somewhere on that list), but it’s almost guaranteed the dishonor of being the stupidest.

What do I mean by “stupidest,” exactly? Simply that, by concept alone, this game never would have worked. But the developers went through with it anyway, and playing it for just a few minutes will prove just how pointless it is.

Long story short, Win, Lose or Draw was an American gameshow that ran from 1987 to 1990, and worked like something of a televised version of Pictionary. A team of men went up against a team of women, with one team member drawing an object, and the other members of the team trying to guess what they were drawing.

It certainly makes sense as a gameshow, but how do…

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The Weekly Wizard: Issue #14: Potential Switch Revivals (Part 2)


Hello again, you lovely beasts you. Welcome back to The Weekly Wizard, the segment of Miketendo64 brought to you by the Sith lord behind Wizard Dojo, where I talk about stuff dealing with Nintendo’s past, present and future.

Yes, this is another late entry. Apologies. I’ll try to make TWW a weekend thing again. We’ll see.


 

Last time, I talked about how the Nintendo Switch seems to be reviving older templates and making them new again, such as Breath of the Wild returning to the open-world roots of the original NES Zelda, and the upcoming Super Mario Odyssey returning to the 64-style of Mario platforming. I then discussed what other franchises Nintendo could potentially revive on the Switch, and specified Metroid and F-Zero as examples.

This edition of TWW will continue with a few more examples of franchises that could see a return (or a return to form) on the Nintendo Switch.

 

Star Fox

Do a Barrel Roll!

I know, I know. We just saw Star Fox make a return after a lengthy hiatus in 2016 in the form of Star Fox Zero on Wii U. But to say it was a disappointing return for the series for many would be an understatement.

Star Fox Zero was a prime example of “close, but no cigar.” While the game resurrected the rail-shooter, arcade style gameplay of the series’ first two and most beloved installments, its attempt at a ‘unique’ control setup was a bit messy, to say the least.

What could have been a surefire slam-dunk in a long-awaited follow-up to Star Fox 64 ended up being a mixed bag due to its often-convoluted control scheme.

To put it simply, a Star Fox return could use a second go. And bringing the franchise to the Switch just makes sense. The simplicity of the Star Fox gameplay makes it an ideal game to have on the go on a portable, but it can have enough substance to make for hours-long play sessions at home on your TV screen.

More importantly, Nintendo has the opportunity to fix the issues that plagued Star Fox Zero. No need to shoehorn “innovative” controls, just have a traditional control setup, while making the experience bigger and better. While they’re at it, why not also implement the one feature Star Fox has been begging for for over a decade, online multiplayer?!

The 2011 3DS remake of Star Fox 64 was a strong recreation of the N64 classic, but it was screaming to have online multiplayer in order to make it something more than just Star Fox 64 on a handheld, but Nintendo missed out. Then  Star Fox Zero came around, and not only missed out on online multiplayer, but had no multiplayer whatsoever. The ability to play Star Fox with people around the world is well overdue. If Nintendo can just do what they do with Mario Kart, but for Star Fox, and they’d have a sure winner.

Animal Crossing

ACNL

Okay, here’s another one that we saw not too long ago, but with an unwanted catch. The Wii U’s edition in the wildly popular Animal Crossing series, Amiibo Festival, was a bizarre anomaly. It abandoned the life simulation gameplay of the series in favor of a board game setup not dissimilar to Mario Party, and required the usage of Amiibo in order to play it properly. It was little more than a marketing gimmick to sell more Amiibo.

It was an odd decision on Nintendo’s part, to say the least. Considering how many units each entry in the Animal Crossing series has managed to sell, you would think simply putting Animal Crossing on the Wii U would’ve helped the struggling console a little bit. But it never happened. We just got an interactive Amiibo commercial instead.

On the plus side to things, this does mean that a few years have passed since the last proper entry in the franchise, the 3DS’ Animal Crossing: New Leaf. The Animal Crossing franchise had been ridiculed for a lack of newness in the DS and Wii sequels, before New Leaf finally added some freshness to the tried-and-true formula. If another Animal Crossing had been rushed out the gate, the franchise may have stepped back in its overly familiar territory.

Now’s the time for Nintendo to rethink the series. Not in a completely change everything to sell Amiibo kind of way, but in a way that adds to everything that made New Leaf one of the best games on the 3DS.

New Leaf allowed players to take the role of mayor of their towns, where they could enact new laws and influence the direction of things. Why not take that a step further, and have players actually able to mold their town? Maybe players could assign where the animal characters can build their houses, or set the locations of the local shops? Maybe the players themselves can become the boss of their own business, and hire some of the animal residents as their employees!

The recent success and acclaim of Stardew Valley proves that there’s still plenty of interest in life simulation games, and Animal Crossing’s standing as a game where you can invest a few minutes or several hours into each play session makes it a perfect fit for Nintendo’s home console/handheld hybrid console.


That’s all for this week’s edition of The Weekly Wizard. Stay tuned next week when I (probably) conclude this series of potential franchise revivals on the Switch. If you have any franchises you’d like to see revived on Switch, feel free to suggest them in the comments, and check out my site, WizardDojo.com for more of my writings on video games and other things as well!

The Weekly Wizard: Issue #13: Potential Switch Revivals (Part 1)


Welcome back to the Weekly Wizard, the segment of Miketendo64 brought to you by the dark lord behind Wizard Dojo, where I talk about Nintendo’s past, present, future, and oddities.

This week’s edition is exceptionally late – due to my spending the Easter holiday with friends and family – so apologies for that. You must have been entirely lost without TWW. Thankfully, it’s here now, and all is right in the world.


 

The Nintendo Switch has found some good success in its early months on the market (much to the chagrin of those who still can’t find one in stores). Much of the Switch’s success is due to its unique appeal of new and old ideas. The hardware itself is something new simply by combining Nintendo’s two longstanding divisions of home consoles and handheld systems. It’s critical and commercial darling, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, also represents this, with familiar Zelda elements completely revamped and merged with new genres and innovations. And things look to continue down this path with Super Mario Odyssey, which looks to resurrect the explorative gameplay of Super Mario 64, and make it new again.

So this begs the question, what other classic series could we see get similar treatment? Let’s take a look!

 

Metroid

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Probably the obvious choice, and the one most people want to see. After the disastrous Metroid: Other M, the series laid dormant for six years, only to return with the underwhelming Metroid Prime: Federation Force, fans have been itching for a return to form from the series.

There are three different routes Nintendo could take with Metroid on the Switch. The first is to do something completely new with the series, though given how desperately people want to ensure Metroid returns to its former glory, this may be a road too risky for the struggling franchise.

The other two, and more likely options, are to return to a 3D, first-person Metroid in the vein of the Prime games, or a brand new two-dimensional Metroid. Personally, I would prefer the latter. With Castlevania in limbo (and still waiting on its spiritual sequel, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night), and Metroid going down its questionable path during the 2010s, the Metroidvania genre has been in dire need of one of its two namesake franchises.

A new 2D Metroid could be just what Nintendo needs to rebuild the series. It would take things back to the series’ roots, which is what fans want, and it would give Nintendo the opportunity to do something innovative with a 2D template, which is something Nintendo could use in this day and age. Nintendo’s had some great 2D games in the last several years, but only DKC: Tropical Freeze and Kirby’s Epic Yarn seemed truly innovative.

I’d love to see Nintendo revisit and reimagine the 2D Metroid formula. And given what I’ve seen online, I’m far from the only one who’d love to see that.

F-Zero

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The other Nintendo series that everyone seems to want to see revived. I’m admittedly only a lukewarm F-Zero fan, but I definitely understand its appeal. It’s fast-paced racing and futuristic aesthetics make it a unique alternative to Mario Kart in the world of Nintendo racers.

F-Zero hasn’t been around since the GameCube days, with only Captain Falcon’s Smash Bros. appearances and a Nintendo Land mini-game to appease fans of the series in that time.

Nintendo has a primed opportunity to continue their recent trend of rethinking and rebuilding their franchises with F-Zero, but because the series hasn’t been around for so long, they don’t need to change things up too drastically, either.

Really, an F-Zero revival could emphasize online play, and that would be something new and fresh for the series, and all Nintendo would really need to do is add a bevy of different modes of play, and they would have a game that fans could easily get behind.


That’s all for this edition of The Weekly Wizard. Next time I’ll look at even more franchises that could use a fresh entry on the Nintendo Switch. Are their any suggestions for series you’d like to see make a comeback on the Switch? Feel free to suggest them in the comments section, and check out my site WizardDojo for more of my thoughts and opinions on gaming… and other things as well!

Super Bomberman R Review


SBMR

It’s been a long time coming, but Bomberman is finally back! Once developer Hudson Soft – creators of the Bomberman franchise – were purchased by Konami, the series took an extended hiatus. Konami was so quiet in regards to Bomberman, in fact, that many wondered if we’d ever see the beloved multiplayer series again.

Thankfully, such fears can be put to rest, as Konami’s first original Bomberman game arrived as a launch title on the Nintendo Switch, in the form of Super Bomberman R. But is Bomberman better than ever, or does his return prove to be a little rusty?

It may as well be said now, Super Bomberman R is very much the Bomberman you know and love. Though it may not be the best of the traditional Bomberman titles (that honor would go to Saturn Bomberman), it is a welcoming return to the series that may also serve as a fitting introduction to the classic Bomberman gameplay for new players.

Just as the case is with most titles in the series, Super Bomberman R sets players in single-screen arenas, where they have to blow up blocks and other obstacles to make their way through. Along the way, they can pick up power-ups that allow you to plant multiple bombs at once, increase the length of the explosions, allow you to throw your bombs, and so forth.

The gameplay – being identical to the majority of Bomberman titles – is fun, though its over-familiarity may make the Bomberman initiated feel underwhelmed if they were looking for anything more than a simple return for the series after years of absence.

The game has two primary modes: Story and Battle.

Story Mode sees one or two players progress through a series of single-screen levels, where they must simply get to the exit to move on. Though they must first activate the exit by meeting a certain requirement (usually it’s defeating every enemy, but you may also need to escort characters to a designated spot, collect keys, or simply survive for a set amount of time). Each world consists of eight such levels, followed by two boss fights.

The first boss fight always pits players against one of the Five Dastardly Bombers, who each have their own unique bomb type. You only have to hit them with a single bomb, but their AI is quite crafty, and at times can feel like you’re up against a human player, making for some intense encounters.

SBMRThe second boss of each world is much larger, and involves one of the Dastardly Bombers piloting a large robot or other vehicle. Unfortunately, these bosses aren’t nearly as fun, primarily because they quickly become tedious. Each boss has their own pattern, which never really changes during the fight, and having to expose their weak point only to hit them with one or two explosions before the process starts over quickly grows monotonous.

One notable complaint to be had with the story mode is the perspective. While not bad for the most part, the perspective during the story mode is at a slant, which can become difficult in certain stages where there are higher and lower grounds to traverse, as it can be tough to discern when which plain certain objects and enemies are on.

This perspective issue is also noticeable during the aforementioned giant boss fights. Oftentimes, the bosses are so large that they take up most of the screen, making it difficult to see your character as they disappear under the mechanical bosses. What’s worse, you may often get killed by accidentally touching part of the boss when you can’t even see where your character is.

All this is a non-issue in battle mode, however, as the camera is fixed in the series’ usual top-down style. Battle mode is where you’ll be spending most of your time with the game, as you can battle other players locally or online in deathmatches which are as fun as ever. Super Bomberman R doesn’t do anything new with the Bomberman multiplayer formula, but after years of a Bomberman-less gaming landscape, it is good to have it back.

SBMRIn the end, Super Bomberman R may not be one of the greatest entries in the series due to its lack of innovation to the classic formula and some camera issues and tedious bosses in its story mode, but it does provide that classic Bomberman gameplay that it sure to bring a good deal of fun in multiplayer sessions, whether battling various foes online or teaming with a friend in story mode. Combine that with some pretty gorgeous visuals and catchy music, and you have another healthy reminder of why this series was so memorable to begin with.

If you’re a Bomberman veteran, you’ll feel right at home with Super Bomberman R. If you’re new to the series, it serves as a good introduction to what the franchise has to offer. Either way, it’s great to have Bomberman back.

 

7.0

The Weekly Wizard: Issue #12: Shovel Knight is the Mario of Indie Gaming


Welcome to the Weekly Wizard, the segment of Miketendo64 brought to you by the criminal mastermind behind Wizard Dojo, where I talk about stuff relating to Nintendo’s past, present or future!

Sorry this edition is a bit late. I exhausted my blogging powers writing the 500th blog for my site. But I’m still finding the time to write this anyway, because I’m sweet like that.


 

SK

When Shovel Knight was released in 2014, it became a smash hit. Drawing inspiration from the 8-bit greats like Mega Man, Castlevania, Super Mario Bros. 3, and even Duck Tales, Shovel Knight dug its way into our hearts, becoming a big-seller and critical darling, effectively putting Yacht Club Games into the spotlight.

What we may not have expected, however, is just how iconic its titular character would become. Since the game’s release, Shovel Knight has become something of the “Mario” of the indie gaming scene. He frequently cameos or is referenced in other indie titles, and he’s become something of the unofficial face of indie gaming.

Shovel Knight
Shovel Knight in glorious 3D, courtesy of Yooka-Laylee.

Shovel Knight’s most recent appearance is in Yooka-Laylee, Playtonic’s debut game and spiritual sequel to the Banjo-Kazooie series. But this is just the most recent in a long line of cameos and crossovers. Shovel Knight is even scheduled to make an appearance in Castlevania spiritual successor Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night!

There were some indie characters who vied for the position Shovel Knight now finds himself in: Meat Boy, Tim from Braid, that kid from Limbo. But none of them really fit the role all too well. Meat Boy was perhaps off-putting due to the sheer difficulty of his game, as well as being a disgusting slab of meat. Meanwhile, Braid and Limbo are perhaps a little too pretentious to be so widely embraced.

Shovel Knight was a different story. The game combined elements of so many classics of the 8-bit era, but put its own spin on things to create a truly unique experience. It controlled well, looked great, had a kickass soundtrack, and was original and fun.

Similarly, its titular hero was simple but memorable, much like the video game characters who inspired him. He’s just an easy to like character from an easy to love game.

Simply put, Shovel Knight fit the role of indie gaming’s mascot more so than I think Yacht Club Games ever imagined. And the great thing is his position in the independent scene made it really easy for him to gain more exposure.

Because indy developers are much smaller than the AAA companies, they can more easily communicate ideas without going through so many legal hoops. All kinds of indie developers were all too happy to include Shovel Knight in their games one way or another.

Shovel Knight was a game that quickly became a hit, and the easy access for other developers to include him in their games meant Shovel Knight quickly rose to prominence as a character. He even became the first official third-party Amiibo, and is still the only Amiibo based on an indie character.

shovel Knight

These days, it’s hard to imagine another indie character reaching the same iconic status. If Mario is “Mr. Video Game” then Shovel Knight has become “Mr. Indie Game.” This status couldn’t be more deserved, for who else could dispense shovel justice so beautifully?

This all begs the question of when Shovel Knight will get his own follow-up? It’s impossible to think that Yacht Club Games wouldn’t deliver the sequel we all want and expect. Will it simply be Shovel Knight 2, and serve as a bigger follow-up? Or could it be Super Shovel Knight, and take on a 16-bit style? Or maybe we’ll be seeing a kart racing spinoff!

Whatever the case may be, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve only scratched the surface of what Shovel Knight has to offer. Countless cameos are sure to follow, and I think we’ll soon see this indie classic become a force to be reckoned with as its own franchise. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll see Shovel Knight as a fighter in Super Smash Bros.


That’s all for this edition of TWW. How much do you love Shovel Knight? Feel free to express your shovel affections and dream Shovel Knight appearances in the comments. And be sure to check out my site WizardDojo for more of my opinions on gaming and other stuff, too!

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review


Wizard Dojo’s 200th video game review! TheManCalledScott tackles Breath of the Wild!

Wizard Dojo

*Review based on the Nintendo Switch version*

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a beautiful contradiction. It is at once the grandest adventure Nintendo has ever made, and their most minimalistic. It defies the established conventions of the Zelda series, while simultaneously celebrating its legacy. It’s Nintendo’s first foray into the open-world genre, and yet it’s the best game said genre has ever produced. In short, Breath of the Wild is nothing short of a masterpiece, and the new standard for the Zelda franchise.

When Nintendo claimed they were making this newest Zelda title an open-world experience, it was all too easy to assume Nintendo had done something they rarely choose to do, and caved in to conform with more contemporary gaming conventions. Nintendo is usually known for going by the beat of their own drum, but it seemed Nintendo had finally opted to do what everyone…

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The Weekly Wizard: Issue #11: Obscure Mario Games


Welcome to The Weekly Wizard, the portion of Miketendo64 brought to you by the not-so-friendly neighborhood Spider-man behind Wizard Dojo, where I talk about Nintendo’s past, present or future. Or something along those lines.


 

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Mario is not only the face of Nintendo, but the face of all gaming. There’s not another video game character who has retained such an iconic status for so long. As such, Mario has appeared in many, many video games through the years. But not every Mario game is a million-dollar best-seller, and some fall right into obscurity. Continue reading The Weekly Wizard: Issue #11: Obscure Mario Games

The Weekly Wizard: Issue #10: Should We Be Saying Goodbye to the 3DS?


Tye Dillinger
“Let’s hear it for issue number 10!”

Hello and welcome to The Weekly Wizard, the part of Miketendo64 brought to you by the nefarious outlaw responsible for Wizard Dojo, where I talk about current goings-on with Nintendo, or take a look at their past.


 

3DS

The Nintendo Switch has been out for nearly a month, and with its release and rapid success, Nintendo has almost immediately abandoned its predecessor, the Wii U. The Nintendo Switch serves as the logical evolution of Nintendo hardware, as it combines their home console output along with that of their handheld systems. Nintendo no longer needs to separate development teams between hardware divisions, and no longer needs to relegate certain franchises to certain systems. Continue reading The Weekly Wizard: Issue #10: Should We Be Saying Goodbye to the 3DS?

Tetris Attack Review


Wizard Dojo looks at one of the best puzzle games ever.

Wizard Dojo

In 1995, Nintendo released Panel De Pon on the Super Famicom. It was something akin to an inverse Tetris. A falling-block puzzle game where the blocks ascended from the bottom of the screen, as opposed to falling from the top. In 1996, Panel De Pon was brought stateside under the name Tetris Attack, swapping out the original Panel De Pon characters with a motif based on Yoshi’s Island. The game was later re-released on the Nintendo 64 with yet another new title, Pokemon Puzzle League, using characters and visuals from the Pokemon anime. While Pokemon Puzzle League is the version that has seen subsequent releases through Nintendo’s downloadable services, the Yoshi’s Island aesthetic makes Tetris Attack the most endearing version of this overlooked gem of a puzzler.

As stated, despite having the name Tetris in its title, Tetris Attack works as a reversed version of the falling-block puzzle genre made…

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The Weekly Wizard: Issue #9: All Hail the King (Dedede, that is)


Welcome to The Weekly Wizard, the segment of Miketendo64 brought to you by the nefarious cad responsible for Wizard Dojo, where I talk about the current goings-on with Nintendo, take a retrospective look back at their past, or just share some thoughts on the Big N. Whatever I feel like.


 

Yes, I know this edition of The Weekly Wizard is late. Things happen. Plans change. I get lazy there are unavoidable circumstances. What can I say? I know you all have been at a total loss without my ramblings and my gifs for a whole extra day, but hopefully this late edition of TWW will make up for lost time. Continue reading The Weekly Wizard: Issue #9: All Hail the King (Dedede, that is)

The Weekly Wizard: Issue #8: Morning Breath (of the Wild)


Welcome to another edition of The Weekly Wizard, the segment of Miketendo 64 brought to you by the malicious entity responsible for Wizard Dojo, where I talk about Nintendo’s recent happenings, or take a look back at the Big N’s history.


the-legend-of-zelda-breath-of-the-wild-screencap_1280.0.0

It’s rare that I play a video game that consistently amazes me, but The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has entered that elite group.

Continue reading The Weekly Wizard: Issue #8: Morning Breath (of the Wild)

Tetris Battle Gaiden Review


Wizard Dojo looks at one of the most obscure – and best – puzzle games on the SNES.

Wizard Dojo

Tetris Battle Gaiden

Sometimes, the simplest video games are the best ones. Look no further for a testament to this than Tetris, the original falling-block puzzler which remains one of the most timeless classics in the medium. Tetris is essentially perfect as is, but its iconic status (as well as its simple formula) also means that other games have tried to put their own spin on its gameplay. One of the better of these Tetris spinoffs is also one of the most obscure, and comes in the form of Tetris Battle Gaiden, a puzzle game released exclusively on the Japanese Super Nintendo, the Super Famicom.

This Japan exclusive, released in 1993, features the same addicting gameplay as the perennial classic, with the same exact block shapes that the players must construct in such a way as to complete a row, which eliminates those blocks and prevents them from stacking too high. If the blocks…

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Dr. Mario 64 Review


Revisiting one of the last notable N64 games.

Wizard Dojo

Dr. Mario 64

Dr. Mario was one of Mario’s earlier forays in branching out to genres outside of the platformer, and remains a fun and addictive puzzle game to this day. In 2001, as the Nintendo 64 was coming to a close and the GameCube was readying its way to store shelves, Nintendo released a relatively obscure entry in the Dr. Mario series as part of the Nintendo 64’s last breath titled (what else?) Dr. Mario 64. Though Dr. Mario 64 retains the fun of the series, its lack of newness to the formula may mean you’ll only break it out during parties.

Dr. Mario 64 retains the gameplay of the series: It works like a falling-block game, but instead of blocks, it’s vitamins (or “megavitamins,” as the series calls them). The vitamins are separated in two halves, with either side being red, blue or yellow. Additionally, there are several red, blue and yellow…

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