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Nintendo is celebrating 127 years in business today, and over all of those decades (and especially the last three), they've left an incredible mark on the world. Nintendo characters like Mario and Donkey Kong are household names, and the company's vast catalog of memorable and innovative games have touched millions of lives, bringing joy to children of all ages around the world. Of all of Nintendo's franchises, which one has had the biggest impact on your life? Hit the jump to share your stories and celebrate Nintendo's anniversary!

Society loves a scapegoat, and all too often it's gaming that cops the blame. The violent nature of video games comes under scrutiny in the wake of tragic shootings, while the rise in mental health issues is, at times, attributed to the increased prevalence of gaming. The concern is for an alleged generation of isolated and introverted youth, lacking in social development due to hours spent in virtual worlds.

Some argue that in many cases gaming is responsible for common mental health conditions including social anxiety and depression, born out of dissatisfaction with the real world in comparison to the virtual space. A similar phenomenon, termed "Pandoran Depression," followed the immensely popular James Cameron film Avatar in 2009, when mundane daily life fell short of how viewers perceived the idyllic fantasy world of the film.

As a means to see how gaming and mental illness correlate in reality, I spoke with four self-professed "gamers" who have also been diagnosed with mental health disorders. Despite their fears of stigma, Lucy, David, Paul, and Erin* bravely opened up to me about how gaming has impacted their struggle with mental illness, for better and for worse.

The Legend of Zelda is one of the most iconic video game franchises of all time, and it has been my personal favorite series for as long as I can remember. From NES to Wii U, Link's adventures in Hyrule and beyond have always been some of my most memorable games on each console. Naturally, when I saw "#Top5ZeldaGames" lighting up Twitter, I had to get in on the fun. Narrowing the Zelda series down to just five entries is no easy task (the games number in the double digits if you include spin-off titles), but I've put together a list of five games that have a special place in my heart. Hit the jump to see my picks and leave your own!

Pokémon Sun and Moon's website recently updated, and with it came a few interesting comments from the games' director, Shigeru Ohmori. Among those, he talked about how our sun and moon inspired the naming of the games, and how he thinks about life on earth.

"We live on a planet overflowing with life. This earth of ours revolves around the sun, and in turn, the moon revolves around the earth. When you look at the sun and the moon from Earth, they appear to be traveling through the sky in similar orbits, but when you change your perspective, you come to realize that their orbits are completely different. Yet the Earth and the sun and moon are all tied to one another, and life grows and flourishes as they work their influence upon one another." — Shigeru Ohmori

Read more after the jump!

My experience with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at E3 wasn't very epic or heroic. Most of my time was spent orienting myself within the game's environment. I dashed through some trees and climbed a few rocks, scouring for food and killing Moblins here and there. After one of the booth workers introduced me to fast travel, I teleported to a tower and promptly ran off it and died. Twice. All of this while Link only wore a pair of underwear.

But though my Breath of the Wild story mainly consists of accidental suicides and aimless meandering, it is still my story. Others roasted apples, some climbed mountains, and a lucky few even stumbled upon bosses. No demo was like the other; each player's adventure was uniquely their own. Everybody had their own story to tell after playing the E3 demo. Strike that. Those fortunate enough to land a spot in the game's seven-hour line had their own story to tell. The allure of a singular experience is what made The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild the breakout title of E3 2016, and it has also reinvigorated my adoration for this fabled franchise.

When the first-person shooter craze died down, it was inevitable that some genre would rise up and take its place. That is indeed what happened as open-world games—the ones in the vein of Assassin's Creed, Xenoblade Chronicles X, and Watch Dogs—burst on the gaming scene, and developers rapidly took notice. Even the Zelda franchise received the open-world treatment during E3, much to the delight of fans worldwide (though it may be argued that the open-world convention of Breath of the Wild is merely a return to traditions past).

The consequence is that one metric of apparent quality has risen just as fast: how large is the game's map? Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 were heavily scrutinized based on the sizes of the in-game worlds, gameplay and design choices notwithstanding. Likewise, people have speculated far and wide concerning the world size of the hotly anticipated Breath of the Wild, with some claiming it's as large as 170 square miles. However, this beckons the question: just how important are map sizes?

Many Nintendo fans were delighted to hear in January that Intelligent Systems, the team behind Paper Mario, was working on a new game in the beloved series for Wii U. But when it was formally revealed under the name Paper Mario: Color Splash, that joy turned to disappointment for some and outrage for others.

The first two games in the series—Paper Mario for Nintendo 64 and GameCube's Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door—are where many of its fans began. They were traditional RPGs with an inventive battle system and interesting story elements, all topped off by a unique kicker: everything in the world was made of paper. Super Paper Mario was an oddity, and then Sticker Star is where the issue truly began.

Resident Evil and survival-horror were once virtually synonymous, but Capcom's beloved franchise saw a distinct shift in gameplay with Resident Evil 4, and each main series entry since has been more and more action-focused. While this helped popularize the series and attract new fans, it also left many veteran players feeling alienated. Capcom took note of fan frustration when Resident Evil 6 received lukewarm reviews and undersold expectations, and they promised to do more to appeal to their core base.

As such, I was intrigued (but skeptical) when a reliable source leaked that a horror-focused Resident Evil VII would appear at E3 this year. While I trusted the source, I couldn't wrap my head around the idea of Capcom truly taking the series back to its horror roots. I fully expected Capcom to take a half-measure, scaling the action back to the level of Resident Evil 4 or perhaps Resident Evil: Revelations, but I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong. Based on what we've seen so far, Capcom is making a real effort to welcome in horror fans with open arms.

Every E3 comes and goes making huge waves with some of gamers' most anticipated titles, but if there's one scene in gaming flourishing brighter than ever before, it's independent game development. This year several of us from Gamnesia had the opportunity to play a wide variety of indie games on the show floor, and four of us decided to come together to highlight our personal favorite games from E3 2016. Head inside to read all about them!

You may have heard of development studio CD Projekt Red for their work on the open-world The Witcher series. Taking many game of the year awards, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt was released on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and received an astounding amount of positive reception. Now the developer is taking an interest in Nintendo's newest system, code named NX.

Read more after the jump!

Jakks Pacific has produced toys for Nintendo for a while, and their recent announcement extends the toy line into the rest of 2016. Currently there are three installments, one coming this summer, another in September, and a third during the winter. The figures include characters from the Super Mario, Pikmin, Metroid, Animal Crossing, and Splatoon franchises. This current schedule is only for the 2.5 inch figures, so it's possible we may see different figures released in the upcoming months. Some are currently available at smaller toy retailers; although, it's expected they will arrive at big-box stores in the near future.

Make the jump for the full list of figures!

Nintendo's Virtual Console platforms are an incredible solution for longtime gamers who want to relive their beloved memories as well as younger gamers or would like to go back and see the games that started some of today's most beloved series. The latter, in fact, is exactly what we got from a listener question in a recent episode of Nintendo Week, our Nintendo-themed podcast here at Gamnesia. "Say I could only play five Virtual Console games on Wii U or 3DS," Caleb Villa asks, "which ones should I play?"

Check out the discussion video after the jump for our full discussions about these (and more) incredible titles and why you should play each one, or keep reading for our short lists!

Update: Happy April Fools, everyone!

Being a former president of the United States of America gives you a lot of insight that most people don't have. This is, after all, why I am Gamnesia's go-to guy when it comes to politics and national affairs. We don't talk about politics here often, but they do affect all of us, whether we want to pay attention to them or not. Things like regulations and judicial processes affect the day-to-day operations of every game developer and publisher in a myriad of ways, and the people we put in elected office are the ones that write and enforce laws. So, naturally, it stands that even a humble gaming blog like Gamnesia would have a stake in the upcoming presidential election.

With that aside, I would like to take this opportunity to present my endorsement for Donald Trump.

If you follow our indie coverage here at Gamnesia, chances are you've heard of an upcoming game called YIIK: A Postmodern RPG. Created by Ackk Studios, the team behind action-RPG Two Brothers, YIIK is a mystery RPG set in 1999 that was inspired by the cancelled EarthBound 64.

Ackk Studio's sophomore title is launching in February or March on Steam, PlayStation 4, Vita, and Wii U, and they've supplied us with a demo of the game's "Wind Town" setting before launch. I was intrigued by the game's trailers, but I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Having thoroughly played the demo, I still have a lot of questions, and that's a good thing. You can check out my impressions by clicking below.

The following is an entry in "Growth of a Gamer," a series of articles exploring the profound ways that video games can touch people's lives. For more information and more great content, you can check out the series' hub page! Until then, please enjoy "Pokémon: Just Another Game."


As someone who's poured enough hours into video games to write several novels, it's funny to think that I fell in love with them purely by accident. My seminal experiences with interactive entertainment weren't particularly memorable. I vaguely recall my dad trying out an action-adventure game on our brand-new Xbox, while my six-year old self observed from afar, perplexed by the incoherent movements on screen. My sparse shelf was populated by mediocre titles such as Superman: The Man of Steel and Zapper: One Wicked Cricket; ultimately, these hackneyed experiences aroused little more than a casual interest in gaming. If you told me that "immersive interactive experiences" existed back then, I'd give you a puzzled look and think nothing more of it.

But there was still a strange allure to the supermarket video game aisles that managed to filter past my decidedly average gaming exploits. I'd wander into these relatively abandoned spaces, enthralled by flashy box art characters that seemed all too willing to snatch me from my reality into theirs. They were quite the motley bunch—among them, a mustachioed Italian plumber, a shorts-touting fox with a ridiculous grin, and a spunky gang of Japanese teens on rollerblades. One of the boxes, Pokémon FireRed Version, caught my attention. I locked eyes with the blazing orange dragon on the cover, and that's when my journey began. Head inside to keep reading!