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!

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

FIFA 18 Switch Review

Version reviewed: Switch/Xbox One

*Update*

Several weeks post FIFA18’s launch, a strange phenomenon has occurred: I’ve played more FIFA then ever! Destiny 2’s weekly milestones and events are where the bulk of my game-time’s been spent but having FIFA on Switch has enabled me to play in the pockets of time in and amongst other things. For example, when the kids have their daily cartoon slot (5PM-6PM) it’s there to grind away a few games in career mode whilst still being able to sit with them. The settling in period which comes with all new football games is over and the gameplay feels comfortable – not PS4/X1 FIFA 18 – but better than the PS Vita and Wii U ‘efforts’. The control issues identified in the original article have mellowed as familiarity has grown. I’ve played the game predominantly in handheld mode; FIFA is and always will be about Career Mode for me and the Switch version is perfect for this. I dropped £49.99 for this game at the expense of some of the amazing downloadable titles a-buzz on Switch at the moment and it was definitely money well spent!

Original Article: 

Having held off pre-ordering any version of FIFA 18, I went into this week hoping for a nugget of analysis on the elusive Switch version of the game. With EA Access on Xbox One, I was able to spend some time with ‘full’ console version of FIFA 18; therefore this review will also touch on the Xbox version as well as the Switch one – just in case the sub-line is confusing! Time for kick off!

There’s a lot to unpack in a discussion regarding FIFA on Switch but we’ll start with what everyone wants to know: it plays good! The core gameplay is FIFA. In comparison to FIFA 17 and 18 the physics feel a bit more limited – especially compared to 18 on Xbox One which seems to have more frequent mis-kicks and random moments of the ball coming off your shin. Edit mode – as well as the full assortment of options are available. If – like me – you are still clinging on to Legacy Defending, there option to switch (click!) between modes is there. Whilst playing in handheld mode, the camera zooms in which can easily be tweaked in the options. However, a quality of life feature which would have been welcome is to have different option profiles for docked or handheld modes. You can do this for control set ups but the camera remained constant unless manually changed. 

Tent pole modes like career and Ultimate Team play as you would expect them to. Having played the ‘dynamic’ transfer negotiations on Xbox One, the Switch version’s traditional email system was actually a welcome return. By my third transfer negotiation on Xbox One the novelty had warn off. Everything else in career mode such as training, scouting and contract negotiations play exactly as they did in 16 and 17. 

Now for the tricky bit: is this a viable alternative to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One FIFA? Clearly, this is the best portable FIFA. It is a light years ahead of the much-maligned 3DS, Vita or even Wii U versions. My purchase is justified as I think of the weekends away, train journeys and spontaneous multiplayer matches ahead. Despite the lack of Journey or online friend matchmaking, taking my career on the road is what I wanted. The one area that sets it below the ‘full’ versions is one I did not anticipate: the biggest limitation is the Switch itself.

In comparison to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 controllers, the Joy-Con pale in comparison. The smaller analogue sticks make turns and flicks that little bit more clunky. The action buttons require a split second longer press to result in the desired player pass or shot. It is noticeable. 

However, I am still happy with the purchase purely for the portability. It will interesting to see if the control issue mellows over time with adaptability; a Pro Controller would alleviate it at the expense of full handheld mode. If you can guarantee FIFA domination on the television for the next 12 months, there is no reason to look beyond the ‘full’ versions. If you have a FIFA widow or widower restlessly hinting it’s their turn, FIFA 18 on Switch is a great option to end the war of the television. 

Hopefully we won’t see the spat of ‘Legacy’ editions with simply updated rosters each year and this solid – if imperfect- first season can be built upon for next year.

Verdict: Recommend!

I have a (FIFA) dream

In Xmas 2013, I was eagerly expecting the birth of my first child: due in January. Booting up my beloved (third…) Xbox 360, I was greeted with a great offer on the latest FIFA and took the plunge. My wife and I regularly enter deep negotiations regarding usage rights of the big tv and so began a new chapter in the living room Wars.

Up until this point I’d been slumming it on FIFA 13 on Wii U and PlayStation Vita (yep, I know). These offscreen experiments failed to satiate my career mode desires; they fell short of the true console FIFAs. Before these, I’d even tried some cheap-yet-hopeful cinema glasses and hooked them up in standard def to FIFA 12 but inevitably failed. FIFA 14 on 360 gave me that full-fat experience but I was compromised by compromise; I needed a better solution. This was increasingly apparent especially with a new arrival on the way.

Shortly after child number one arrived, I bought a PlayStation 4 and FIFA 14 tantalised by the prospect of remote play on Vita. This proved to be another false dawn as shoddy consistency in connections along with the Vita’s control shortcomings. 

Over the last couple of years, FIFA has been relegated to the spare bedroom on a small – I mean really small – television which is barely 720p. It’s with this colourful history of broken off screen promises that I dared to dream one last time: FIFA on Switch. 

Reports from preview events clearly showed off the limitations of the Switch version: not running on the latest engine and missing The Journey. However, the game played well – according to reports – plus the career mode is on par with FIFA 17. Could this be the Cinderella story which proves to be the game which breaks the cycle of disappointment? Every year, ‘FIFA Widows’ (and widowers) are forged from the obsession millions upon millions have with this game. Less than a week away from launch, we wait with baited breath if this can truly succeed. Early reviews of the PS4/Xbox 1 versions are in yet the Switch version in conspicuous by its absence. Like many games which do not review until bang on release, an air of caution surrounds the great hope for living room harmony over the next 12 months. There has been no press release (at the time of writing) from EA or a demo on the Switch eshop. Can this game really fulfil the hopes of millions and be the best handheld football experience? It also can not be ignored just how important this series is to a console’s prospects. Dreamcast and Wii U – both epic failures – have one FIFA title between them; it is a crucial game to support the life of a console. 

We’ll find out this week. Look out for our review on Sunday. It may just be the Switch’s most important game ever. 

Destiny 2: Trials of Parenting

Listening to the Kinda Funny crew this week, they discussed an interesting topic: an article about Destiny 2 and parenting. The full article from Kotaku’s Keza MacDonald can be found here: Kotaku. So here’s our take on this hot topic…

Firstly, parenting is a wonderful, dreadful challenge which subconsciously and consciously challenges you for the rest of your life. Every decision you make is influenced by the fact you are now a parent revealing a new layer of feeling under your existing psyche and mentality.

Point in reference: the death of the Wayne’s in Batman. I’ve watched this hundreds of times pre-children but it was watching it again in Batman Begins when my nerve failed to hold. I could feel my eyes welling up and my mind wandered; what would my children do if a Joe Chill was lurking outside the local cinema? How would this impact their lives beyond the obvious? So, with all this in mind, let’s return to Destiny. 

Andrea Rene made a great observation at Kinda Funny: the distinction between being a ‘new’ parent and being a parent. It does get easier over time as you learn to deal with another human’s day to day problems as well as your own but all stops on the parenting timeline offer unique opportunities to experience games and I’d like to share some.

A month after my first born arrived, I bought a PlayStation 4. This was in 2014. A sleep deprived wreck, I quickly realised something in between the 2am and 6am feeds: warming a bottle, waking our daughter and feeding took roughly the same amount of time as a game of FIFA. Cue Vince McMahon excitement meme. When she settled into a more regular routine, our daughter slept for about two hours each morning and afternoon as well as 12 hours at night. This allowed me to settle back into more regular gaming patterns. This coincided with the release of Destiny 1. Over the next months, Destiny became comfort food – like FIFA – jumping into a strike for 15 minutes. I didn’t need to think or try to remember where I left off; it was just there waiting for me. This is what excites me now for Destiny 2.

Within a week of launch, Destiny 2’s campaign was over and I’m steadily climbing the light ladder. My fireteam – who are not yet parents – are Raid-ready and are deeper into the end game content like the Nightfall Strikes. However, when I jump on, we still find common ground. There is always something the we can do which is productive in pushing those stats up. If I do get chance to do the raid, like any extended event in my life, I’ll have to consider the kids first. If you want to do it there’s always a way. Like Keza though, I’ll always be one step behind my responsibility-free guardian friends. At least for now, but this may change.

My kids are three and one and we have a great thing at the moment: playing games together. We play games like Yooka-Laylee and they pretend to be the titular characters; sometimes it’s one of the LEGO games or – a great game for anyone – Slime Rancher. It’s still a bit early to put them into Destiny but I’m looking forward to the day we can. Take IGN general manager Peer Schneider’s examples of hooking four PlayStation 4 consoles up to play multiplayer together or roaming the battles of Splatoon 2 as a family. Parenthood closes one chapter on our gaming lives; I’ll probably never spend 14 hours straight playing Fallout 3 like I did in 2009 but parenthood also opens another door: one which is perhaps most of us thirty-somethings can relate to.

If – like me – you were brought up with Nintendo and SEGA viewed as ‘kids toys’ which would inevitably end up at a car boot sale with He-Man and Thundercats, we now have the opportunity to usher in a new age for computer games. The shift to popular culture and an acceptable pastime began with the PlayStation in 1994 but now the way we interact with our children and games births the opportunity to fully realise this. For the time being, playing great games and sharing thirty years of wonderful experiences – both digital and real life – with my kids is amazing. At the end of a hard day, I know a cheeky half an hour on Destiny 2 is a great way to pass the time. 

Royale Revolution?

Which games should have Battle Royale modes?

The newest in-thing in games is the ‘Battle Royale’ genre; is it a game mode or a feature which should be exclusive to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)? The premise is a 100 player death match on an island with an increasingly shrinking playing area – a bit like a digital Hunger Games. Fortnite has been one of the first ‘fast followers’ to the Battle Royale party and has been met with friction from PUBG. The term is here to stay – like Metroidvania or Roguelike – as Alanah Pearce wrote for IGN recently (http://m.uk.ign.com/articles/2017/09/22/pubg-publicly-shaming-fortnite-is-a-terrible-pr-move). But which other games would make for awesome Battle Royals modes?

Destiny 2: Trials Royale

Could you imagine this? The carnage would be incredible: especially if you could drop in as a fireteam. The weapon collecting system from PUBG would be redundant to a certain extent though placing vehicles and/or limited use weapons could make it even more interesting. Destiny 2’s open world style world maps would be ideal for a 100 player fight to the death mode. 

The Legend of Zelda: Battle of the Wild

Unlikely yet simultaneously logical. Drop 100 Links on a region of the map with nothing Eventide Island style and procure weapons on site. Throw a few Lynels in for good measure too. No, wait – let one person be the Lynel…No amiibo!

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain of Battling Royale 

This game has sat on my shelf for two years now since completion; the mechanically-perfect masterpiece is perhaps the most likely candidate for a Battle Royale shooter. Clearly the blend of stealth and bombastic, Bay-esque firepower would be an excellent template to unleash 100 Infants Terrible upon each other. 

Pokemon: Battlemon Tournament

Hear me out. Choose a starting Pokemon and acquire 5 Pokeballs. Drop 100 Pokemon trainers onto an open, full world map such as Kanto and slowly narrow the map area. Aside from your starter, all Pokemon are caught in the game world and there are no Pokemon Centres. Revives and Potions etc are procedurally dropped around the world. This is the best bit: just like in the core-game RPGs, any trainers making eye contact must battle. Once all Pokemon in your party faint, it’s game over. Only the very best – like no one ever was – will win! 

Mario Kart 8: Royale Dash

100 drivers. 3 balloons each.  Wuhu Island. Done. 

Banjo-Kazooie: Nutz N Battlez

Banjo and Kazooie’s last outing – nearly 10 years ago – suffered from not being what their fan base wanted. The construction tools in this game are simple to understand yet have amazing depth. Drop bear and bird into the battlefield and scour for new parts. Don’t be caught in the menu screens though; budding engineers need to assemble new parts quickly and efficiently. The other 99 players are made up of Banjo’s supporting cast like Bottles as well as long forgotten platform heros like Cool Spot, Zool and Earthworm Jim. Last 90s mascot standing wins. Yooka and Laylee available as paid dlc. 

Which games do you think should take inspiration from PUBG? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @pennilessdads

Destiny’s Halo?

Destiny 2: the new benchmark for games-as-service, is here. Now, seems a funny time to discuss this but a convergence of events in the last week have brought me to a simple conclusion about life, light and the preservation of games such as this. The fact of the matter is simple; Destiny 1 will inevitably be shut down soon. 

Back in 2014, always online was a strange new concept for many. Now it is almost mandatory. Destiny for all its faults was amazing (note the past tense). Over the last three years I’ve had an on/off romance with it which is rekindled with Destiny 2. Always online brings with it unavoidable problems. The other night – after a long day at work – I booted up D2 only to be met with a disappointing ‘network down’ message as Bungie delivered (planned) maintenance. No Destiny porn for me then. This began the mind-wander towards a depressing question; how much of D1 will be playable when the plug is pulled? 

Logic dictates the obvious; none of it. Likeminded online focused games have drifted off to that digital farm all of our virtual pets were sent to and Destiny will probably be no different. Except – what if there were a workaround?

Always online enabled all Destiny players to exist within the various worlds alongside others. There really was nothing like jumping into a Strike playlist; finding two random, silent Guardians then carrying out your mission with surgical precision. However, the primary purpose of all our Destiny saves – for both games – is to avoid cheats and exploits. No one can manipulate game saves etc when we don’t physically have them on our hard drives. Should this still apply to D1 though? The hardcore have jumped sparrow to D2, leaving the original Tower et al conspicuously lonely. Having just clocked D2’s great campaign, a return play through of D1 – which I haven’t done since 2014 and the vanilla days – might not be a bad idea. It is currently a vague memory wrapped up in subsequent dlc and never ending grinding. I wouldn’t be doing it for engrams or gear or shards but for something more: enjoyment. This led me to my conclusion.

If Bungie – against all form and precedent – switched D1 to local saves, allowing the player to play solo (offline), a renaissance of D1 could be upon us. The core game would be preserved; you could even patch in bots for the raid. This offers up a tantalising prospect; Destiny could work on Nintendo Switch. Destiny 2, with its complex infrastructure, may be too much but a local based Destiny 1 would surely not. Three Guardians playing in handheld mode locally. It sounds logical doesn’t it? For all the improvements D2 has brought, wouldn’t it be great to take the original with you anywhere? It’s just a thought; a wish upon a star. One day, the original Destiny will be in darkness. Perhaps we can find a way of leaving the light on…