Game of the Year 2017

What is 2017’s best game?

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It’s been a bit quiet at pennilessdads as real-job commitments have dominated October and November. Hopefully I’ll be a bit more active in December – starting with my picks for game of the year 2017. This article will be updated every day this week until number one is revealed.

5. Sonic Mania

The success of this game can be quantified by two pieces of evidence:

I) how poor Sonic Forces is in comparison

II) how long it has been in the Switch eshop charts

Sonic Mania is all things: nostalgia-evoking; stylish and modern yet retro at the same time. The cutscene at the opening positions the game in exactly the right place – the continuation of Sonic and Knuckles. It is also the genesis of one of the best Sonic fan theories ever regarding a certain upside down boss fight!

4. Horizon: Zero Dawn

A truly amazing game which firmly holds the title of ‘best looking game’ of this generation. The DNA of Horizon can easily be sourced from the likes of Tomb Raider, Phantom Pain and even Skyrim – plus many more. What it does exceedingly well is mix the mechanics it iterates on into a beautiful odyssey for protagonist Aloy to embark on. Everything about this game screams AAA. Even on my launch PS4 and 1080p tv the game is head and shoulders above any other current-gen game visually.

3. Destiny 2

After sinking hundreds of hours into the original, Destiny 2’s challenge was making millions of lapsed guardians care again. Destiny 2 has an epic campaign, clear, uncomplicated progression and great – great – multiplayer. The game is polished and is the definitive video game fps. Nothing feels as slick as Destiny and – despite a few minor controversies – everything it does is with the type of confident swagger Bungie can deservedly show.

2. Super Mario Odyssey

This makes number one obvious! Super Mario Odyssey has been a rollercoaster for me. It started with a gradual climb, followed by a dip before a thrilling second-half campaign kicked off with New Donk City. SMO, which scales to all abilities, is another game perfect for the Switch. The sense of wonder and “I bet there’s something cool around that corner” feeling oozes from every corner of this game. The cherry on the cake is the endgame grind which is perfect for dipping back into – comfort food – after a hard day in the Real World Kingdom.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

When you start Ocarina of Time on N64, a subdued background cutscene plays before going to the traditional Zelda file select screen. Wind Waker and Twilight Princess unspectacularly imitate this and by Skyward Sword the opening formula to Zelda felt tired. Breath of the Wild does something bold, confident and new: a blank, white screen – quiet yet striking – then it simply says in crisp black letters ‘The Legend of Zelda’. You quickly embark on Link’s most epic of adventures – there’s no knight school politics or fishing tutorials this time. Just like the introductory screen, everything this game does can be described as bold, confident and new. There’s plenty of nostalgia for those who want to seek it but what this game does so well is evoke the spirit of adventure in the player. It’s Frodo leaving the Shire where a daunting, unknown world awaits. BotW’s stylised graphics, true open world progression and creative use of physics enhance it above most games. Although stunning, the underpowered Wii U and Switch game doesn’t quite pop and impress visually as much as Aloy’s amazing PS4 masterpiece. However, what sets BotW apart from all other games this year, this generation and all time is the feeling created by it. The weekend this game came out was 48 hours lost in the ruins of Hyrule’s wilds. Away from playing the game, I dreamed of climbing those mountains and what wonders lay ahead. God help the next Zelda game as it has a lot to live up to. For me the new benchmark has been set; it’s a great time to be playing video games!

Mario Odyssey Ranked Kingdoms

What’s the best Kingdom?

Just because!

  1. Metro Kingdom
  2. Mushroom Kingdom
  3. Bowser’s Kingdom
  4. Moon Kingdom
  5. Ruined Kingdom
  6. Lake Kingdom
  7. Cascade Kingdom
  8. Seaside Kingdom
  9. Sand Kingdom
  10. Luncheon Kingdom
  11. Cap Kingdom 
  12. Snow Kingdom
  13. Cloud Kingdom
  14. Wooded Kingdom (awesome music btw!)
  15. Lost Kingdom

Mario dlc? Yes-ee?

What next for Mario?

Super Mario Odyssey Spoilers ahead!!!!

After THAT ending, can we expect dlc/expansions to Nintendo’s odyssey? Going in, I knew the endgame was blowing people away but my initial thought was ‘they’ve remade Mario 64 in-game!!!!’ which isn’t quite an accurate description of what happened. The Mushroom Kingdom is an amazing part of Odyssey but not quite as mind blowing as I hoped. 

Demand is high for a full HD Mario 64 – as well as Sunshine and the Galaxy twins. However, what if these games were part of Odyssey’s expansions? Instead of completely remaking the games, choose the best bits – like the throwback galaxy in Galaxy 2. Three expansion packs: 64, Sunshine and the Galaxies combined. Perhaps 3D Land and 3D World can be involved too. Given the size of these it would come with a £10-£20 price tag per pack but may be better received than HD remakes and/or Virtual Console releases. 

The capacity for Mario 64 is already in the game if you’ve seen the credits roll. In the Seaside Kingdom there’s a blatant FLUDD mechanic – meaning the code is in there – which would mean simply building the assets. Bosses aside, most of Sunshine could be constructed from Odyssey’s existing building blocks. Finally, combining the two Galaxy games into one super expansion would be a similar job. 

Despite the clamour for these games, full retail, HD remakes would pale in comparison to Odyssey; playing them could be a chore not a joy. If you can’t beat them join them. Odyssey would be the perfect playground for its predecessors to descend upon. 

Mario Motion Oddity

Given the unique selling point of the Switch – universally useable in home console, tabletop or handheld modes – a strange phenomenon has hit Super Mario Odyssey. Quite simply, certain control modes limit Marino’s move-set. The game, which released to critical acclaim, is amazing but this strange design choice has got the internet in a perpetual question block.

Within the first couple of hours, you are introduced to Mario’s move-set; anyone who has played Marios 64 or Galaxy will feel right at home. Mario’s new hat techniques are where the controls divert into strange-town. A tap of ‘y’ or a flick of the right Joy-con sends your hat in the direction you are pointing – so far, no problems. If you are in separate Joy-con mode, motion control is there if you want it; for all other Switch configurations the ‘y’ button will suffice. A flick of the Joy-con will spin Mario’s hat around him (a la Link’s spin attack) and if not in separate Joy-con mode you simply…erm…there’s no alternate way of actioning this motion! 

For pennilessdads (and mums) this presents a difficult problem: if you want to play the game with Mario’s full move-set, parent-friendly handheld mode isn’t really an option. The spin mechanic isn’t as essential as say jumping or sliding but it is a rare case of Nintendo dropping the ball in this game. 

If nothing else, it is another example of the Switch’s quality motion controls. That HD remaster of Skyward Sword might be possible still! 

Edit: there are ways sans split Joycon to pull off spin throw and other advanced motion moves. However, compared to the aforementioned, similar moves in Breath of the Wild, these are not as consistent in execution. Git gud you say? Perhaps, but given the advantage the motion moves give you, there should be a fairer playing field than this mefinks. 

Stardew Valley Review

Zip-a-dee-dew-dah!

Version reviewed: Switch

How much you enjoy this game will be dependent on where you sit on the gaming/farming spectrum; more on this later but interpret as you will for now. Stardew Valley is an established indie-darling which has had great success on other platforms. Now, it reaches the golden-paved streets of the Switch eshop. It has held the number one spot on the UK download chart for over a week so let’s see what all the fuss is about.

Without spoiling anything, the premise is you inherit a derelict, forgotten farm in Stardew Valley. For perhaps the most compelling of reasons – which many pennilessdads will relate to – you begin a new life living off the land. The game adopts a faux-16 bit top-down style which charms from the outset. As the game progresses, more farming options open up to you. From humble beginnings sowing parsnips, the game quickly opens up crafting elements; the ability to raise livestock as well as join in with the village-greenesque lives of its residents. Gameplay chunks are split into days (which last around 7-10 minutes) and seasons. What you grow and do is dependent on the latter. But what are you farming for?

Again, without spoilers, the game tells you quite early on how long you’ve got to become the Apple of apples yet the game stretches beyond this boundary. Quests from residents nudge you along certain directions but you are free to ignore – if you want to forge your own path. Each day you drop off your produce to sell and collect your earnings – and so the grid begins! The loop of selling stuff to get money to buy new, better stuff is perfectly balanced in Stardew Valley. It’s loot: akin to Destiny or Diablo – always encouraging you to play just 5 more minutes to get that new shiny thingamajig you need. This is one extreme of the gaming/farming spectrum. Like the brilliant Slime Rancher; or crafting in Fallout 4 or engram farming in Destiny, the farming is almost (as fun as it is) is almost arbitrary. This game’s pull is the constant desire to improve your slice of Stardew Valley and realise your place in its world. Reminiscent of forgotten Wii gem Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles My Life as a King, you become very attached to your homestead which grows along with your pride – and earnings!

So what’s the other end of the spectrum?

One can easily walk past a game of Stardew Valley and write it off as a FarmVille 2017. This would be a great discredit but it is a possible reaction. The crafting, building and exploring this game encompasses either hooks you or it doesn’t. I love it! It’s the perfect game to hop into whilst the kids play next you. Five minutes or five hours – it doesn’t matter. They melt away regardless, making this a perfect fit for Nintendo’s console.

Thoroughly recommended!

The Greatest Games I’ve Ever Played

THE List

Top 10/100 – whatever – lists irk me slightly due to the changing nature of the industry. What was ‘the greatest game ever’ 5 years ago may now seem janky and less favourable as games evolve. This list, which is a working document, is based on the experience at the time. I wouldn’t recommend playing some of the ZX Spectrum games on here but at the time they were brilliant. Hopefully I can remember all the games I’ve ever played; they’ll be added to as and when…

  1. Zelda: Breath of the Wild Switch
  2. Fallout 3 Xbox 360
  3. Zelda: Ocarina of Time N64
  4. Super Mario 64 N64
  5. Resident Evil 4 Wii
  6. Skyrim Xbox 360
  7. Super Mario Allstars SNES
  8. Super Mario World SNES
  9. Zelda: Wind Waker GameCube
  10. Destiny 2 Xbox One
  11. Destiny PS4
  12. Super Mario Galaxy 2 Wii
  13. Bioshock Infinite Xbox 360
  14. Super Mario Galaxy Wii
  15. Zelda: Twilight Princess Wii
  16. Metal Gear Solid 2 PS2
  17. Metal Gear Solid PlayStation
  18. Fallout 4 PS4
  19. Zelda: Link Between Worlds 3DS
  20. Pokemon Gold/Silver Gameboy
  21. Pokemon Fire Red Gameboy Advance
  22. Pokemon Yellow Gameboy
  23. Pokemon Red/Blue Gameboy
  24. Super Mario Bros 3 NES
  25. Metal Gear Solid 5 PS4
  26. Dead Space Xbox 360
  27. Assassin’s Creed 2 PS3
  28. God of War PS2
  29. Sonic Mega Collection GameCube
  30. Sonic Jam Saturn
  31. Sonic 3 & Knuckles Megadrive
  32. Tetris Gameboy
  33. Donkey Kong Country SNES
  34. Metroid Prime GameCube
  35. Arkham Asylum PS3
  36. Bioshock Xbox 360
  37. Firewatch PS4
  38. Arkham Origins PS3
  39. The Beatles Rock Band Xbox 360
  40. Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D 3DS
  41. Pokemon Sun 3DS
  42. Wonder Boy the Dragon’s Trap Switch
  43. Stardew Valley Switch
  44. Zelda: Skyward Sword
  45. Pokemon X 3DS
  46. Metal Gear Solid Twin Snakes GameCube
  47. Super Mario 64 DS
  48. Metal Gear Solid 3 PS2
  49. Sonic 2 Megadrive
  50. F-Zero GX GameCube
  51. Arkham Knight PS4
  52. Mario Kart 64 N64
  53. Super Mario Kart SNES
  54. Yoshi’s Island SNES
  55. Banjo-Kazooie N64
  56. Bioshock 2 Xbox 360
  57. Guitar Hero 3 Wii
  58. Rock Band Xbox 360
  59. Mario Kart Double Dash GameCube
  60. Final Fantasy X PS2
  61. Mario Kart Wii Wii
  62. Doom PlayStation
  63. Bloodborne PS4
  64. Smash Bros Melee GameCube
  65. Sonic Generations Xbox 360
  66. Earthworm Jim Megadrive
  67. Need for Speed 2 SE PC
  68. Sonic 1 Mega Drive
  69. Resident Evil 4 PS2
  70. Mario Picross Gameboy
  71. Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag Wii U
  72. Zelda Picross 3DS
  73. Arkham City Xbox 360
  74. Tomb Raider PS4
  75. Grand Theft Auto Vice City
  76. Guitar Hero World Tour Xbox 360
  77. Smash Bros Brawl Wii
  78. Donkey Kong Country 2 SNES
  79. Oblivion Xbox 360
  80. Pokemon Black DS
  81. Pokemon Black 2 DS
  82. Zelda Wind Waker HD Wii U
  83. Zelda Twilight Princess HD Wii U
  84. Sonic Advance Gameboy Advance
  85. Star Wars Ep1 Racer N64
  86. Zelda: Majora’s Mask N64
  87. Zelda: Link to the Past Gameboy Advance
  88. Super Mario Bros NES
  89. Final Fantasy 7 PlayStation
  90. FIFA 18 Switch
  91. FIFA 10 PS3
  92. Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 PS3
  93. FIFA 11 PS3
  94. FIFA 12 Xbox 360
  95. Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 PS3
  96. FIFA 13 Xbox 360
  97. FIFA 14 Xbox 360
  98. Mario Kart 8 Wii U
  99. Megadrive Ultimate Collection PS3
  100. Zelda: Link’s Awakening Gameboy
  101. Wario Land 3 Gameboy
  102. Pro Evolution Soccer PS2
  103. Gears of War Xbox 360
  104. Sonic Adventure Dreamcast
  105. Donkey Kong 64 N64
  106. Jumping Flash PlayStation
  107. Pro Evolution Soccer 2 PS2
  108. International Superstar Soccer Pro Evolution PlayStation
  109. Tetris DS
  110. Street Racer SNES
  111. God of War 2 PS2
  112. Transformers War for Cybertron PS3
  113. Rare Replay Xbox One
  114. Grand Theft Auto San Andreas
  115. Football Manager 2005 PC
  116. Pro Evolution Soccer 5 PS2
  117. Gears of War 2 Xbox 360
  118. Pro Evolution Soccer 4 PS2
  119. Pro Evolution Soccer 3 PS2
  120. Football Manager 2006 PC
  121. International Superstar Soccer 64 N64
  122. International Superstar Soccer 98 N64
  123. International Superstar Soccer SNES
  124. Super Mario Sunshine GameCube
  125. Project Gotham Racing 3 Xbox 360
  126. Goldeneye N64
  127. Ridge Racer PlayStation
  128. Mortal Kombat 2 Megadrive
  129. Streets of Rage 2 Megadrive
  130. Aladdin Megadrive
  131. Donkey Kong Gameboy
  132. New Super Mario Bros U Wii U
  133. Pro Evolution Soccer 6 Xbox 360
  134. Pokemon Snap N64
  135. Super Mario 3D Land 3DS
  136. Tekken 3 PlayStation
  137. Soul Calibur 2 GameCube
  138. Arkham City Armoured Edition Wii U
  139. Beetle Adventure Racing N64
  140. Metroid Prime 2 Echoes GameCube
  141. Grand Theft Auto 4 Xbox 360
  142. Zelda: Four Swords GameCube
  143. Okami Wii
  144. Super Mario 3D World Wii U
  145. Sonic Gems PS2
  146. 007 Agent Under Fire PS2
  147. Tomb Raider 2 PC
  148. SEGA Rally Saturn
  149. Pokemon Platinum DS
  150. Grand Theft Auto 4 Xbox 360
  151. Grand Theft Auto 3 PS2
  152. Football Manager 2007 DS
  153. Yooka-Laylee PS4
  154. World of Illusion Megadrive
  155. Luigi’s Mansion GameCube
  156. Hyrule Warriors Wii U
  157. Super Monkey Ball 2 GameCube
  158. Spyro the Dragon PlayStation
  159. Streets of Rage Megadrive
  160. Golden Axe Megadrive
  161. Lion King Mega Drive
  162. Mortal Kombat 3 PlayStation
  163. Tiger Woods 2003 Xbox
  164. My Life as a King Wii
  165. Crackdown Xbox 360
  166. Resogun PS4
  167. Pokemon Pearl DS
  168. Banjo Kazooie Nutz n Boltz Xbox 360
  169. Marvel Ultimate Alliance PS3
  170. LEGO Star Wars Complete Saga Xbox 360
  171. Motorstorm PS3
  172. Star Wars Battlefront PS4
  173. Nintendo Land Wii U
  174. FIFA 2003 GameCube
  175. Fighters Megamix Saturn
  176. FIFA 2001 PlayStation
  177. Super Monkey Ball GameCube
  178. Rogue Leader GameCube
  179. House of the Dead 2 Dreamcast
  180. Tekken PlayStation
  181. Street Fighter Alpha Saturn
  182. Crystal Defenders PSP
  183. LEGO Star Wars PS2
  184. Worms PSP
  185. Arkham VR PSVR
  186. Marvel Vs Capcom 2 Xbox 360
  187. Star Fox Adventures GameCube
  188. Doom 3 Xbox
  189. Pokemon Stadium N64
  190. Transformers Fall of Cybertron PS3
  191. Spider-Man The Movie GameCube
  192. Pro Evolution Soccer 6 PSP
  193. Olympic Soccer PlayStation
  194. Rise of the Tomb Raider PS4
  195. Shenmue Dreamcast
  196. Final Fantasy 13 PS3
  197. Tomb Raider 3 PC
  198. Master Chief Collection Xbox One
  199. Super Smash Bros N64
  200. Pokemon Ruby Gameboy Advance
  201. Chu Chu Rocket Dreamcast
  202. Shovel Knight 3DS
  203. Rogue Squadron N64
  204. Panzer Dragoon Saturn
  205. Alleyway Gameboy
  206. Halo Xbox
  207. Halo 3 Xbox 360
  208. Halo 2 Xbox
  209. Sonic and the Secret Rings Wii
  210. 007 Nightfire GameCube
  211. Perfect Dark Zero Xbox 360
  212. Return of the King GameCube
  213. God of War Chains of Olympus PSP
  214. The Fellowship of the Ring GameCube
  215. The Two Towers PS2
  216. SEGA Rally 2 Dreamcast
  217. The Simpsons Arcade Xbox 360
  218. Zelda: Spirit Tracks DS
  219. Soul Reaver 2 PS2
  220. Sonic Adventure 2 GameCube
  221. Mario Kart Super Circuit Gameboy Advance
  222. Wii Sports Wii
  223. Power Stone Dreamcast
  224. Donkey Kong NES
  225. Fast Racing Neo Switch
  226. Disney Infinity 2.0 PS3
  227. Football Manager 2006 Xbox 360
  228. Halo Reach Xbox 360
  229. New Super Mario Bros Wii
  230. New Super Mario Bros DS
  231. Power Stone Collection PSP
  232. Mortal Kombat Deception PS2
  233. UEFA Striker Dreamcast
  234. Striker 96 PlayStation
  235. Soul Reaver PlayStation
  236. LittleBigPlanet PS3
  237. Kirby’ Adventure NES
  238. Pac-Man NES
  239. Ninja Turtles NES
  240. Adventure Island Turbo Grafix
  241. Wii Sports Resort Wii
  242. Wii Play Wii
  243. Mass Effect Xbox 360
  244. Sonic Unleashed Xbox 360
  245. Viva Piñata Xbox 360
  246. Basil the Great Mouse Detective  ZX Spectrum
  247. Bejewelled Xbox 360
  248. Columns Megadrive
  249. Football Manager 2007 Xbox 360
  250. Castle of Illusion Megadrive
  251. Super Hang On Megadrive
  252. Batman Returns Megadrive
  253. Street Fighter 2 Championship Edition Mega Drive
  254. Super Paper Mario Wii
  255. Goldeneye Wii
  256. World Cup 98 N64
  257. LEGO Batman 3 PS4
  258. Assassin’s Creed Unity Xbox One
  259. Virtua Fighter Deluxe Saturn
  260. Discworld PlayStation
  261. FIFA Road to World Cup 98 N64
  262. Force Unleashed Xbox 360
  263. Quantum of Solace Xbox 360
  264. Doom 64 N64
  265. Super Scope 6in1 SNES
  266. Pilotwings Resort 3DS
  267. 1080 Snowboarding N64
  268. Theme Park PlayStation
  269. Tomb Raider PC
  270. Ridge Racer Type 4 PlayStation
  271. Top Gear Overdrive N64
  272. The Curse of Sherwood ZX Spectrum
  273. Mortal Kombat SNES
  274. Assassin’s Creed 3 Wii U
  275. Battle Arena Tohshinden PlayStation
  276. Panzer Dragoon Orta Xbox
  277. Batman Megadrive
  278. Loaded PlayStation
  279. Resident Evil 6 Xbox 360
  280. Halo 3 ODST Xbox 360
  281. Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz Wii
  282. Sonic 3D Saturn
  283. Sonic 3D Megadrive
  284. Turok 2 N64
  285. Pikmin 3 Wii U
  286. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles GameCube
  287. PN 03 GameCube
  288. Rebel Strike GameCube
  289. Crisis Core PSP
  290. Medieval PlayStation
  291. Power Rangers SNES
  292. Nights Saturn
  293. Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Xbox 360
  294. Ultimate Doom PC
  295. Assassin’s Creed Xbox 360
  296. Sonic Generations 3DS
  297. Sonic Spinball Megadrive
  298. Wave Race Gameboy
  299. Knuckles Chaotix 32X
  300. Transformers Revenge of the Fallen PS3
  301. Ristar Mega Drive
  302. Gex 3D Enter the Gecko PlayStation
  303. Mario Kart DS
  304. Metroid Fusion Gameboy Advance
  305. LEGO Batman Xbox 360
  306. Metroid 2 Gameboy
  307. Story of Thor Megadrive
  308. Lemmings 3D PlayStation
  309. Revenge of Shinobi Megadrive
  310. Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture PS4
  311. Commandos PC
  312. Warioware Gameboy Advance
  313. Assassin’s Creed Bloodlines PSP
  314. Turok N64
  315. Arkham Origins Blackgate 3DS
  316. Horace Goes Skiing  ZX Spectrum
  317. Star Wars 32X
  318. Resident Evil Mercenaries 3DS
  319. Batman Begins Xbox
  320. Porsche Challenge PlayStation
  321. Sonic Superstar Tennis Wii
  322. Transformers Dark of the Moon Xbox 360
  323. Star Fox SNES
  324. Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops PSP
  325. FIFA 99 N64
  326. Need for Speed 3 Hot Pursuit PC
  327. FIFA 08 PS3
  328. Link’s Crossbow Training Wii
  329. Sonic Rush DS
  330. Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 Wii
  331. Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3DS
  332. Kid Chameleon Megadrive
  333. The Flintstones Megadrive
  334. Dark Sector Xbox 360
  335. Vac Man ZX Spectrum
  336. Band Hero Xbox 360
  337. Balloon Fight NES
  338. FIFA 07 Xbox 360
  339. School Daze ZX Spectrum
  340. Wario Land 2 Gameboy Color
  341. Digimon PlayStation
  342. Alien Trilogy PlayStation
  343. Transformers The Movie Xbox 360
  344. James Bond Live and Let Die  ZX Spectrum
  345. Sonic Heroes GameCube
  346. XIII PS2
  347. FIFA 2005 PS2
  348. Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) Xbox 360
  349. Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles Wii
  350. Resident Evil Darkside Chronicles Wii
  351. Castlevania 64 N64
  352. The Two Towers Gameboy Advance
  353. Vectorman Megadrive
  354. Jurassic Park Megadrive
  355. Fusion Frenzy Xbox
  356. Tiger Woods 10 Wii
  357. Grand Slam Tennis Wii
  358. FIFA 2002 PS2
  359. Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 PS3
  360. LEGO Rock Band Xbox 360
  361. FIFA 12 3DS
  362. Force Unleashed PSP
  363. SEGA Soccer Saturn
  364. FIFA 07 DS
  365. Incoming PC
  366. Metal Gear Solid Acid PSP
  367. Night Trap PS4
  368. Tiger Woods DS
  369. Sonic 2 Game Gear
  370. Celebrity Deathmatch PS2
  371. FIFA 06 Road to the World Cup Xbox 360
  372. Sonic Rivals PSP
  373. FIFA 98 Road to the World Cup SNES
  374. Guitar Hero On Tour DS
  375. Pokemon Dream Radar 3DS
  376. FIFA 64 N64
  377. World Cup 98 Gameboy
  378. Bubsy the Bobcat Megadrive
  379. FIFA 97 PC
  380. Doritos Crash Course Xbox 360
  381. FA Premier League STARS PC
  382. Transformers The Movie PSP
  383. James Bond Junior SNES

Xbox Mini?

Nostalgia for past consoles appear to be at an all time high with Nintendo’s licence to print money: the SNES Classic. Coming a year after the NES Classic, the recently released 16 bit bundle of goodness has flown off shelves. A like minded Gameboy Classic or PlayStation Classic should be expected over the next few years; but what about Xbox?

Entering the console space near the start of the millennium, Microsoft doesn’t quite have the rich history its competitors do. What they do have though is the roadmap for what the next generation of consoles will look like. The iterative Xbox One X will either be the true beginning of the end of distinctive console generations akin to mobile phone updates or it will be the Xbox One 32X: repeating SEGA’s expensive mistake it the 90s. What Microsoft do offer – to a greater extent than Sony or Nintendo – is choice: the vanilla Xbox One, Xbox One S and the X. With production of the original console ending, a new third pillar should be expected. Could this be Microsoft’s answer to a ‘classic’ or ‘mini’ console? Let me explain…

Since the 360 days, there have been rumblings of a discless Xbox. This may finally be a reality. Imagine if you will, a smaller, streamlined Xbox One: HD – no 4k, 500gb hard drive and packaged with some classic games. The Xbox One will soon be compatible with the full lineage of Xbox games from the original Xbox 1 to the modern Xbox One. This would enable the One family to be its own retro machine – if you want it to be. One of the biggest criticisms of the Nintendo classics has been the lack of expansion: further downloadable titles would have been another money maker for Nintendo. 

Xbox One C? Xbox One Mini? Xbox One TV? Whatever it would be called, a cheaper (£150?) Xbox One might just be the best of both worlds. For now, Sony and Microsoft are ignoring the home/handheld hybrid market (don’t quite believe that…) but the mini market may just be about to explode. We can expect at least one more retro console from Nintendo; time will tell if Microsoft can exploit their unique position and marry the past, present and future together.