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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!

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 "World of Woecraft."


"I_eat_suckas_for_breakfast" was supposed to be the name of the first character I ever witnessed in the World of Warcraft. I remember that afternoon in fourth grade clearly. My friend Max had tried to give that name to a Night Elf Druid, only to discover that underscores were not valid name characters… so we had to settle for "Ieatsuckas."

It was the spring of 2007, and the first World of Warcraft expansion was just released: Burning Crusade. Until that afternoon, the extent of my experience with video games came from a good old GameCube, which had somehow managed to survive four years of being played for several hours a week. Now, here I was in Max’s apartment, watching him as he showed me basic combat on his Night Elf character. I watched, doe eyed, as Ieatsuckas went from zone to zone in this virtual world. There were three whole continents here: Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor, and Outland, each with dozens of zones to explore and endless nooks and crannies. As Max retold the events of the first three Warcraft games, my imagination ran wild. For days afterward, I would watch playthroughs and read fan theories all centered around the Warcraft universe. Head inside to keep reading.

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 "Portal to a New Phase of Life."


For the majority of my adolescence, I only owned Nintendo consoles and was, for lack of a better term, a complete Nintendo fanboy. The Wii was my jam. Never could I see myself owning a non-Nintendo console or playing one of those violent video games I associated with those other consoles. But when I bought Valve’s The Orange Box and played through Portal for the first time, I didn’t really know what to expect—and I loved it. I ended up playing through Portal many times, making it through the AI antagonist GLaDOS’s devious test chambers and Aperture Science’s abandoned research facilities with as much enthusiasm as the first time. Head inside to keep reading!

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 "Swinging Forward with Spider-Man 2."


Back in 2004, my family was living in Hidden Valley, a small community in Lake County, California. It was like a wet dream for a retired dentist from the 50s; it was a small, quiet town with houses spread sparsely across the valley. Its most exciting features were simply one grocery store, two small restaurants, and a video rental store. Clearly a village so remote is a thrilling place to live for any hyperactive child, but somehow I was not a big fan of it. There were few kids around me that I could play with, and when I could, we were still trapped by the boundaries of our homes. Even when we could escape, I never felt welcome outside. There were a few other Latino families like mine, but the town could never connect with me in a genuine way. The town felt artificial, prescribed, as if to maintain an illusion that the problems of the outside world did not apply to them.

I was abandoned on an uncharted island, and the television screen was my only portal away. I often played games based on the shows and movies that I would watch on TV. But one title helped me escape the confines of Hidden Valley into a new world of possibilities: Spider-Man 2: The Game. Head inside to keep reading!

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 "Pikmin: On the Importance of Little Things."


The DK Nature Encyclopedia wasn’t exactly a classic of children’s literature, but I would spend hours flipping through its pages all the same, tracing glossy photos of star-nosed moles and rock hyraxes and blue-footed boobies. I carried this book everywhere, including on my monthly sojourn to Blockbuster (a now extinct specimen of video rental stores). There, the flashiest games would croon at me from their shelves, their titles so full of energy they looked ready to burst with excitement: Super Smash Bros. Melee! Mario Kart: Double Dash!! Sonic Adventure 2 Battle! Wham! Ka-pow! Wowza! But one month, with my encyclopedia tucked firmly in the crook of my arm, I wandered away from these brighter and bolder titles and towards the sale bin, unsure of what I was looking for until I found it. The game should have been buried under the riot of color surrounding it, but my eye slid to it the way a stone might roll into the valley between mountains. No corona of light crowned it as I dug it out. No fanfare erupted as I turned it over in my hands. It just smiled, the ways games smile, and showed me a name written in flowers: PIKMIN.

I went back home, popped the disc into my console, and waited for the Nintendo logo to fade as I hugged my encyclopedia to my knees; I would need it, if I encountered something strange on my journey. This was new, uncharted territory, and I had to be ready for anything. Head inside to keep reading!

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 the story of how Mass Effect influenced Justin's life.

As a child, I had a lot of different ideas about what I wanted to be when I grew up. "I want to be President, I want to be an astronaut, I want to be a veterinarian," and so forth. But once I reached adolescence, I decided I wanted to be a game designer. My logic was impeccable: I thought it would be awesome to get paid to play with games all day long. When I got my first computer as a pre-teen, I immediately began to build small platformers and shooters. They were nothing particularly special—just a few primitive builds that would amount to little more than demos today, but it was work that I enjoyed nonetheless. Social pressure and the fear of joblessness, however, eventually convinced me to abandon my “naïve” childhood dream in favor of pursuing goals that seemed more practical, like law school… That is, until one game convinced me that creating games was how I wanted to spend my life and that doing so would be well with the risk. That game was Mass Effect.

Head inside to keep reading!

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 Gold Version: Where Dreams and Adventure Await"


"Welcome to the world of Pokémon," I heard. In truth I deciphered these words from a few crude pixels on a strangely-upscaled Game Boy Advance screen, but to the little boy playing Pokémon Gold Version for the first time, they meant something. I was no longer sitting on my blue-striped couch trying desperately to find the right balance of soft light and harsh glare from the lamp above to illuminate the screen. These words and the three square waves accompanying them had served their purpose so well that they transcended their very existence. They were my transports to Johto, the world of Pokémon, and Professor Oak made sure I felt welcome. Head inside to keep reading.

Project M was an incredibly popular mod of Super Smash Bros. Brawl that shut down development recently due to growing fear that Nintendo was planning to take decisive legal action in the near future. We thought this raised an important issue, so we made it our discussion segment for this week's episode of Nintendo Week, our Nintendo-themed podcast here at Gamnesia. After briefly reviewing Project M's cancellation, we turned to the bigger question: what should Nintendo do when faced with situations like these? Check out the discussion video above for our full thoughts, or keep reading for a brief, brief summary.

UPDATE: Looks like it may be a false alarm, folks—while initial translations asserted there would be an interview highlighting Zelda U, NintenDaan says there is nothing indicating this. We'll keep you updated as we find out more.

Earlier today the Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu revealed that on November 5th they will be publishing an interview with Eiji Aonuma, Shiro Mouri, and Hiromasa Shikata. The interview is focusing on the upcoming Zelda title, Tri Force Heroes, but it was specifically mentioned that it would briefly touch on news for other Zelda games in development for Wii U. This includes Zelda U, as well as whatever will come for the 30th Zelda Anniversary. Who knows what could be revealed, but until November, we can only speculate.

Earlier this year Nintendo revealed that they're hard at work on new video game hardware code named "NX." There are lots of rumors swirling around the future Nintendo console, but concrete details are scarce, as the Big N won't make any official statements until 2016. With Wii U trailing substantially behind PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in terms of power, many are wondering what kind of engine NX will have under the hood — a subject with two potentially conflicting reports.

A few months ago, Unseen64's Liam Robertson stated that a Nintendo employee says NX is not looking to compete with PlayStation 4 in terms of power. More recently, The Wall Street Journal reported that NX will feature industry-leading chips, although that term is pretty vague. We can't know for sure right now whether or not NX will be as powerful as PlayStation 4, but a better question is does it need to be?

Even with the huge amounts of success Naughty Dog still receives today, like any studio they have had their highs and lows during the development of their games. Naughty Dog's lead animator Jeremy Yates discussed on a GamesRadar livestream about one of the studio's greatest low points, when over thirty developers left the company during the production of the groundbreaking Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.

Click the jump to find out more on this rough patch of Naughty Dog's history.

Nintendo was struck by tragedy in July when President Satoru Iwata passed away at the young age of 55. After two months of searching, Nintendo officially announced that Tatsumi Kimishima would be filling his shoes and taking over the company. Based on his moves so far in Japan, we think he's a great short term choice for candidate, but he also has the potential to fix one of Nintendo's biggest and longest-running problems.