Subscribe to the latest reviews and editorial content

Columns

Gamnesia's reviews and editorial content by our top columnists tells you what you should think, or at least what's going on in our minds. Our opinion is, after all, better than everyone else's.



A long time ago, some time in 1992, someone at Nintendo thought it would be a good idea to stay after regular work hours and 'work up some fun' in the office and among employees. By this, I don't mean kinky fun, but rather the kind that leads to organic, masterful come-up-from-behind games. Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening started out as a Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past port for the Game Boy, but the freedom of the working context allowed the team to turn the game into an original project.

And original it was. Dubbed in Japan Legend of Zelda: Dream Island, the game was written before Koizumi ever ventured into the markedly dramatic territory of Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. No, Link's Awakening was rather a representation of interesting developments at Nintendo HQ. One where, despite the rigorous expectations of a Japanese task force, projects were formed on the basis of an up-and-coming company, a company of passionate developers and designers with a certain creative flow...

Fire Emblem is familiar to Nintendo fans far and wide, but few people have experienced the franchise first-hand. Fire Emblem is a series of tactical RPGs—a genre which can be described as an incredibly advanced game of chess. Players have a team of units, each with their own attributes and weaknesses, always having to think several moves ahead to gain the upper hand on a grid-based field of battle. Set in a fantastical world of medieval warfare, Fire Emblem games pit a small league of heroes against a greater force seeking to gain power and send the world into turmoil in its wake. With dozens of stats, weapons, and other combinations that can make or break a player’s success in battle, Fire Emblem is one of the most strategically sophisticated franchises to date.

Flaunting stunning visuals, a brilliant story, and magnificent gameplay, Fire Emblem Awakening takes the series to new heights in the definitive Fire Emblem experience and creates what is undoubtedly the best 3DS game yet.

Head past the jump to keep reading.

It is the pointless circular debate that has plagued gaming for decades now: is story or gameplay what makes a game? Developers often make statements about focusing on gameplay, with the story coming later, because as Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto puts it, if you just want a good story “read a book or watch a movie.

Fans often get frustrated by how stories are treated as second priority by developers, but they must remember that games weren’t always, and largely still aren’t, plot driven. In the '70's and '80's what games there were existed for the sheer fun and thrill of playing.

As technology has advanced, so has the potential to weave stories into games, but never has either plot or even the gameplay alone been the determining factor of what makes or breaks a game. What gaming is about; what gaming has always been about, is the overall experience. It is the emotions that the players feel.

Super Smash Bros. is any Nintendo fan's dream game. From characters to stages, to music, to everything else, Smash is the ultimate celebration of Nintendo's past and present. But what about Smash's future? That's what Challenger Approaching is all about.

Every weekend, Chris London and I will present our thoughts on new characters, stages, items, and anything else for the next installment in the Super Smash Bros. series. Here at Gamnesia, we assemble an in-depth profile for every character we suggest. For this entry in this ambitious series, we've assembled a profile for Mewtwo, the legendary clone Pokémon. But don't think our analysis stops at just the character—there's plenty more to be seen. Head past the jump to see why Mewtwo has earned a spot among Nintendo's finest in the next game's roster and what his inclusion would do for the next Super Smash Bros.


With its expansive world, beautiful visuals, immersive battle-system, compelling story and hundreds of hours of gameplay, Xenoblade Chronicles wasn’t just one of the best games on the Wii, but one of the best games of all time. It should come as no surprise then that there’s a tremendous amount of excitement building about Monolith Soft’s next project.

At last month's Nintendo Direct presentation a short teaser trailer was released from Xenoblade’s developer of their upcoming Wii U RPG that is currently in development. All it took was that one brief minute-long teaser to get fans speculating about this new title, and we at Gamnesia just can’t miss out on the fun.

Just this week the news broke that a new Pokémon title will be coming to the Wii U; however, the announced Pokémon Scramble U is nothing more than the next installment of the downloadable Pokémon Rumble spin-offs.

The franchise has dominated handheld gaming for decades, but gamers still wait for Pokémon to really embrace home console gaming. Six Generations into the series and it really is time because the Wii U is the perfect home console for Pokémon to make an impact on.

      

It has been a while, but I am hoping to etch space in this busy academic year for some dedicated Gamnesia articles. In a new series, I think I'd like to reflect on some accomplishments Nintendo made over the decades. In a phase where the Wii U seems to be doing not-so-great, I want to keep this string of articles Nintendo-centered without weighing down too much on one clear issue-- just share my personal sense of the company nowadays, before and after. Are you unwavering in your interest in all things Nintendo? Then hop on inside.


Nintendo wasn’t necessarily the first, the last, or the only, but when it comes to boss designs that have two floating hands, a floating head and completely lack a body, Nintendo sure does use them a lot. From decades ago right up to this day Nintendo and its subsidiaries have perfected this seemingly overused boss concept.

This feature takes a look back at some of the most memorable bosses with two floating hands and a head over the years. They may have been used in everything from The Legend of Zelda, to Super Mario, to Kirby and Donkey Kong, but so long as they remain fun there’s no complaints here on this similar reused design. Let us reflect back nostalgically on some of the favorites.

Pokémon Black and White took players into the all-new Unova region where the series both underwent some change while also remaining mostly the same. Black and White marked the beginning of Generation V on the Nintendo DS, meaning that it was the first time two generations had graced one console. That made it more apparent than ever that some additional change would necessary.

To an extent, Black and White spiced up the Pokémon formula with new battle formats—in triple and rotation battles—as well as an increased focus on storyline. Overall, however, Pokémon Black and White remained the same with the eight-gym format and the same battle system we’ve known for decades.

More than anything, Black and White proved that the Pokémon formula remains strong even after all of these years. With almost 15 million copies sold, Nintendo and Game Freak decided to capitalize by rushing out some quick sequels. Instead of the Generation III remakes that many fans expected, they got a more original quest in Black and White 2, which served as an extension of the originals' story. Were these sequels truly worth it, or were they just a cheap ploy at cash?

As internet-browsing gamers, we all get caught up in the infamous console wars from time-to-time, where Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft fans argue over which is best. Although it is about much more than merely which is better, because the debate often quickly becomes about personal attack. Nintendo fans are criticized as being children and female, or mothers and grandmothers.

On the other hand, PlayStation and XBox gamers are bagged for being simpletons who think they are cool guys, but apparently have nothing but a taste for bloodshed with games like Call of Duty. These stereotypes of the console wars couldn’t be further from the truth, and yet the debates rage on.

With 3D Nintendo gaming arriving on the scene back in the late ‘90s thanks to the Nintendo 64 and then the GameCube in the early ‘00s, classic side-scrolling platformers took a back seat. Franchises such as Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong Country from the NES and SNES were no more.

At the time of the 64’s rise to fame, side-scrolling came to be considered as a limitation of gaming in the past, rather than a genre of its own. With the Wii console Nintendo had proven that side-scrolling platformers are truly a whole genre that can provide a unique and entertaining experience even today, in the world of 3D and HD.

With modern 3D graphical sprites moving in 2D or even sometimes 2.5D landscapes,Nintendo has used the Wii to reinvigorate the once forgotten genre. Let’s look back at some of the major Wii titles that contributed to the resurgence of side-scrolling platformers.

When the concept of this little article initially popped in my head it was a rather one-sided affair. I wanted to address excuses the industry may likely be rationalizing themselves with in order to not properly show support for the Wii U. However, as I was gathering some information to create this piece I came upon a rather interesting revelation: The Wii U fans need to stop creating excuses as well.

As a long time Nintendo fan I am well aware of how the industry has generally treated our ilk. I am aware that popular analysts like Michael Pachter have often predicted some not-so-great things for Nintendo and often times, Nintendo tends to prove those predictions wrong. I am aware that when you go around to most general purpose gaming news sites, you can see a clashing of multiple fanboyisms, in particular to loyalty on console brands.

Super Smash Bros. is any Nintendo fan's dream game. From characters to stages, to music, to everything else, Smash is the ultimate celebration of Nintendo's past and present. But what about Smash's future? That's what Challenger Approaching is all about.

Every weekend, Chris London and I will present our thoughts on new characters, stages, items, and anything else for the next installment in the Super Smash Bros. series. Here at Gamnesia, we assemble in-depth profile for every character. For the second entry in this ambitious series, we've assembled a profile for Little Mac, the tiny boxer and poster boy for Punch-Out!! But don't think our analysis stops at just the character—there's plenty more to be seen. Head past the jump to see why Little Mac has earned a spot among Nintendo's finest in the next game's roster and what his inclusion would do for Super Smash Bros.


One of the biggest talking points as we head into this next generation has been graphical power. Even more than in previous generations, comparisons of the power between the newly released Wii U and the upcoming Orbis and Durango have been constant, and never cease to incite fights. The reason, of course, is clear. With the Wii, it was very obvious that Nintendo wasn't trying to compete graphically, and the only real point of contention was whether graphics mattered; purely opinion. Now, however, Nintendo's taken a step into the HD realm, and the argument is no longer whether graphics matter, but if the Wii U is truly powerful enough to 'beat' the competition.

In my opinion, this debate is pointless and flawed from the beginning. Jump inside to see why.

According to a new report from Edge, Microsoft’s next Xbox, codenamed "Durango," will feature 50GB Blu-Ray discs and a new, improved Kinect shipping with the console itself. On the less positive side, the new Xbox will also apparently require an internet connection in order to access the console and will do everything in its power to block access to used games. We already know Sony is thinking about implementing technology to prevent used games from working on the upcoming PlayStation, codenamed Orbis, but now with two main gaming competitors attacking the used game market, the next generation is certainly going to be an interesting one. Head past the jump for more on the new Xbox and why Microsoft’s new ideas may alienate parts of their market.