Articles by Jordan Minor

The Nineties are Back, and So Is Crash Bandicoot in the N. Sane Trilogy.

The massive success of the original PlayStation compared to what had come before made it seem like it was bigger than video games. 100 million units is a huge number, and that cultural cache rubbed off on the console’s premier games like Final Fantasy VII, Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid, and Resident Evil. Even though he was owned by Vivendi (and now Activision), as a furry, obscure animal with attitude Crash Bandicoot became Sony’s de facto mascot in a series of popular platforming games starting in 1996. Now, after several E3 teases and with PlayStation and the 1990s bigger than ever, Crash is back in Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, a remaster of the first three games for PlayStation 4. After all these years is Crash more Mario, Sonic, or Bubsy? I played a demo to find out. [embedded content] Developed by perennially underappreciated Activision studio Vicarious Visions, The N. Sane Trilogy takes some of the raw level geometry of Naughty Dog’s original work but essentially rebuilds the games (Crash Bandicoot, Cortex Strikes Back, and Warped) from scratch on top of it. And that effort shows. This looks like a mostly modern video game with cartoony vistas, fur shading, and…

Games

Switch Games That Aren’t Zelda: Minecraft

If you have a Nintendo Switch, chances are you also have The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The new Zelda is a massive, phenomenal game that you can and should play for dozens of hours. But eventually, you’re going to want to play something new on your Nintendo console/handheld hybrid. Switch Games That Aren’t Zelda is a new column highlighting cool, smaller Switch games to check out once you’ve saved Hyrule. It’s no Tetris, but for an up and coming generation of tech-savvy kids, Minecraft might be the perfect video game to end all video games. I’m part of the generation that mostly remembers Minecraft as an unfinished PC curiosity from 2009. But much has changed since then. Minecraft has been taken from the clutches of famous orc Notch and now belongs to Microsoft. It’s seen numerous updates and is now available on every device under the sun, including the Nintendo Switch. Minecraft may never be for me, but this Switch Game That Isn’t Zelda has offered the most tempting reason to get back in. [embedded content] Minecraft is no stranger to portable play. The Pocket Edition on iOS and Android constantly remains at the top of the READ FULL…

Samsung Promises Fix to Nintendo Switch Smart TV Issue

The latest video game hardware craze isn’t called the Nintendo Switch for nothing. The device’s entire gimmick is about switching between playing it on the go as a tablet and playing it at home as a console docked to your TV. And performing that switching is very seamless and cool. What isn’t so seamless and cool is an issue Switch owners have been experiencing when plugging the machine into their new Samsung Smart TVs. One of the features that make these recent televisions so smart is their ability to change HDMI inputs on their own. So in theory, if you have multiple devices plugged in, the TV will automatically and conveniently switch to that device when you turn it on. The only problem is, even when it sleep mode, it appears a docked Switch still sends a signal to a Samsung TV, causing it to unexpectedly switch even when there’s nothing on the screen. Since it’s out of players’ control, this could be pretty annoying, especially if the TV is switching away from whatever they were actually watching or playing. Imagine preparing to finish off a tough Dark Souls battle only for the TV to decide it’s time for you…

dc

Injustice 2 Sets the Standard for Fighting Game Stories

DCEU News: Whedon Takes Over League, Affleck All In, a Cyborg Film and More The Last Jedi Cast Take Vanity Fair Covers for Star Wars’ 40th Ann… Universal Expects Us to Take Something Called the ‘Dark Universe’ Seriously Spider-Man: Homecoming’s Tom Holland to Play Young Nathan Drake READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!

Arms

Arms, Splatoon, and Nintendo’s New Love of Lore

While other video game developers are happy to explain their lore in depth (or sell it to you in cash-in novels) Nintendo prefers to let fans try and piece together the weird bread crumbs. After decades of trying to determine a definitive timeline for The Legend of Zelda, 2011’s Skyward Sword introduced an origin story along with the revelation that three valid timelines exist. But the next console game, Breath of the Wild, immediately threw that out the window by not obviously fitting in any timeline (despite our prior speculation). Meanwhile, Super Mario Odyssey has the plumber hanging out with real human beings in New Donk City, raising all sorts of questions about the deeply strange Mario mythology. The real answer, eloquently explained by Mark Brown, is that Nintendo’s play-first design philosophy leads to delightfully offbeat presentation chiefly designed to highlight game mechanics, not story. Pikmin are like ants because that makes the real-time strategy more approachable. You fly underneath arches in Star Fox, so you play as a fox because of the Shinto connections. [embedded content] Older Nintendo franchises have been around long enough for us to just accept their insane gameplay-driven stories because that’s how things READ FULL…

drool

Game of the Year: Thumper

For too long the definition of “Game of the Year” has been unfairly narrow. How boring is it to see every website shower the same stale AAA games with praise at the end of each holiday season? So at Geek.com we’re doing what we can to put a stop to this in Game of the Year, a new column celebrating worthy alternative picks for the year’s greatest game regardless of genre, platform, year of release, or even quality. Here, any game can be Game of the Year! Recently I was shocked when I learned that cult classic dog-rapping game PaRappa the Rapper is, in fact, the first rhythm game. I always assumed the game, with its talking flowers and onion masters, was a purposefully strange reaction to more traditional older rhythm games. But unless you count toys like Simon, the 1996 PlayStation 1 game is considered the first modern rhythm video game. The history of rhythm games is rooted in the weirdness of games like PaRappa and Elite Beat Agents and more esoteric editions of Dance Dance Revolution, not more mainstream hits like Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Thumper, this week’s Game of the Year and a great game that…

basketball

Switch Games That Aren’t Zelda: NBA Playgrounds

If you have a Nintendo Switch, chances are you also have The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The new Zelda is a massive, phenomenal game that you can and should play for dozens of hours. But eventually, you’re going to want to play something new on your Nintendo console/handheld hybrid. Switch Games That Aren’t Zelda is a new column highlighting cool, smaller Switch games to check out once you’ve saved Hyrule. I don’t care about sports at all. I had some fun playing soccer and tennis throughout school, but overall I find sports boring, stagnant, and overly complicated. And I straight up hate the vice grip sporting institutions have on culture. However, I do enjoy games, and if nothing else, sports are made up of some very interesting pure game mechanics. That’s why I enjoy sports video games that don’t care about being stodgy “realistic” simulations and instead take the ideas of sports in wacky, alternative directions. This puts me in the minority, though, since outside of the consistent Mario sports games the once omnipresent arcade sports genre is no longer on fire. That’s why I was so intrigued by NBA Playgrounds. If there were a bunch of…

assassins creed

Ubisoft Confirms New Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and The Crew, For Some Reason

No matter how you pronounce its name, we can all agree that Ubisoft is one of the most prolific AAA video game publishers these days. While rivals like Activision and EA seem to narrow their focus on and a handful of hits, the French video game empire has a relatively wider portfolio. However, that doesn’t mean Ubisoft is above milking the same few cash cows, and thanks to a recent fiscal year earnings report, we now know which virtual teats are about to be squeezed yet again. Ubisoft confirmed that new installments in the Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, The Crew, and South Park franchises will all be released before the end of the next fiscal year. We already knew about South Park: The Fractured But Whole, the delayed South Park RPG sequel. However, the rest of these games are theoretically games that have yet to be revealed. [embedded content] We say theoretically because numerous pre-E3 leaks have already told us much of what to expect from the future of these franchises. After a taking a year off to give the awful Michael Fassbender movie time to shine, this year’s Assassin’s Creed will almost surely be READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!

flash

Game of the Year: Newgrounds

For too long the definition of “Game of the Year” has been unfairly narrow. How boring is it to see every website shower the same stale AAA games with praise at the end of each holiday season? So at Geek.com we’re doing what we can to put a stop to this in Game of the Year, a new column celebrating worthy alternative picks for the year’s greatest game regardless of genre, platform, year of release, or even quality. Here, any game can be Game of the Year! Newgrounds turned 21 last year. It’s old enough to drink. But for a generation of a certain type of nerdy kids, it was the website equivalent of the cool older sibling who first introduced them to drinking. The internet has changed a great deal since this portal for games and videos was in its prime. In many ways, internet culture has simply caught up to what Newgrounds was doing. As its impact continues to grow, it’s increasingly clear that Game of the Year is the least of the awards we can grant Newgrounds. [embedded content] Newgrounds occupies and is arguably the crown jewel of the late 90s/early 2000s, pre-YouTube internet space where READ FULL…

Games

The Legend of Zelda Might Be Nintendo’s Next Mobile Game

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the greatest video games Nintendo has ever made. And considering the track record of the company the revived the games industry in 1983, that’s really saying something. Plus, since the game is playable on the handheld/console hybrid the Nintendo Switch, this is a Zelda game you can take everywhere. Now it seems like Link’s next adventure, while not as grand in scope, will be even more mobile. According to The Wall Street Journal, The Legend of Zelda might be Nintendo’s next mobile game. Since announcing its smartphone gaming initiative in partnership with DeNA two years ago, Nintendo has slowly but consistently released a variety of games for phones and tablets. First there was the Mii-themed social app Miitomo in March 2016 followed by the auto-runner Super Mario Run that holiday and most recently the free-to-play strategy/dating game Fire Emblem Heroes this past February. As a reminder to readers/shareholders, Pokemon Go is a whole separate deal. You could totally fit a non-Switch phone/tablet in there. We know a mobile Animal Crossing is in the works but besides that Nintendo’s future mobile games remain a mystery. However, we can expect the company READ FULL STORY AT…

deus ex

Hitman’s Cancellation Makes Us Ask What’s Going on With Square Enix?

For those that don’t remember, Square Enix used to be two companies: Square and Enix. The two had collaborated in the past on projects like Chrono Trigger. But it wasn’t until Square nearly went bankrupt after blowing millions on creepy digital puppets for the Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within movie did the Japanese role-playing game giants merge. The publishers behind Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest were now under one roof. What could possibly go wrong? [embedded content] How about spending years, decades even, developing single video games. Transitioning to the scale of HD games was particularly hard for a company that dealt in genres known for being sprawling, 100-hour epics. Previous console generations could see as many as three core Final Fantasy entries. But Final Fantasy XIII for PS3/360 took so long it ended up getting remixed into its own two sequels to recoup losses while Dragon Quest hummed along on the much more mellow, mega-popular Nintendo DS. Recently Square Enix has been shocked to discover that audiences respond well to their more modest RPGs and spin-offs like the Bravely Default series, I Am Setsuna, and Dragon Quest Builders/Heroes. However, those alone can’t sustain the company while Tetsuya Nomura READ FULL…

Games

Sneaky Mobile Games for Secret Agents

Stealthy, futuristic gadgets are a staple of spy movies. From wristwatches with built-in printers to pens that explode without any noticing. But smartphones, the pocket supercomputers every single chump carries with them every day, blows devices like those out of the water when it comes to sheer capability. And how do we use our godlike power to access all information anywhere at any time? We look at Twitter or figure out the best directions for getting to the Taco Bell. Stop using your phone for dreary real-life business and fulfill its destiny as the perfect tool for escapist spy fantasies. These are the (double-0) seven sneakiest mobile games for secret agents. (Note, some games I wanted to put on this list are so sneaky they aren’t even available anymore, like the Apple Watch spy game Spy_Watch and the official, awful, James Bond mobile game.) Agent A Agent A gives you the satisfaction, the feeling that you’re a genius that comes from solving those trendy escape the room puzzles. But with this game you don’t have to be stuck in a real room for an hour. Plus, you get to look at some lovely illustrated art and unravel a riveting READ…

Games

Switch Games That Aren’t Zelda: Tumbleseed

If you have a Nintendo Switch, chances are you also have The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The new Zelda is a massive, phenomenal game that you can and should play for dozens of hours. But eventually, you’re going to want to play something new on your Nintendo console/handheld hybrid. Switch Games That Aren’t Zelda is a new column highlighting cool, smaller Switch games to check out once you’ve saved Hyrule. Tumbleseed is a game I made a concerted effort to keep coming back to. Wanting to replay a game is certainly a sign of quality, but not necessarily the biggest one. However, considering that Tumbleseed is a roguelike, a genre that even the developers themselves know how much I dislike, that’s telling. I would be lying if I said I enjoyed this Nintendo Switch Game That Isn’t Zelda (also available on PC and PS4) because of its roguelike elements, but the rest of it is so strong it did soften my stance against the genre ever so slightly. [embedded content] In Tumbleseed players guide a humble organic ball up a treacherous mountain. As they roll their way to the top, they face enemies, obstacles, numerous READ FULL…

fmv

Game of the Year: FMV Games

For too long the definition of “Game of the Year” has been unfairly narrow. How boring is it to see every website shower the same stale AAA games with praise at the end of each holiday season? So at Geek.com we’re doing what we can to put a stop to this in Game of the Year, a new column celebrating worthy alternative picks for the year’s greatest game regardless of genre, platform, year of release, or even quality. Here, any game can be Game of the Year! Once news of the unexpected, triumphant HD return of full-motion video (FMV) ironic masterpiece video game Night Trap broke, obviously it rocketed to the top of my personal Game of the Year shortlist. It would be the only proper way to honor the memory of Dana Plato. But Game of the Year is all about expanding the scope of what a Game of the Year can be, and how often we can hand out that award. So why limit myself? Night Trap is this week’s Game of the Year, but it’s not the only one. Today we’re celebrating the whole dang FMV genre. [embedded content] FMV games are games that make READ FULL…