SBox Soapbox: 8 Video Games That Would Make Great Netflix Shows

When it comes to video games crossing over into other mediums, the results have been mixed at best. For example, video games and comics tend to work well. Video games and movies tend to not. However, one of the more overlooked combinations that may actually be more effective than you think involves video games and television. Historically speaking, games tend to make some pretty successful TV shows. Continue reading SBox Soapbox: 8 Video Games That Would Make Great Netflix Shows

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SBox Soapbox: Should Crash Team Racing Be Remastered or Remade?

The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy has finally been released, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been a Crash Bandicoot fan ever since first playing Crash Bandicoot 2 when I was just 2 or 3 years old. It was the first game I ever played and the reason I fell in love with video games in the first place. So, you know I was drawn to this remastering of the first 3 games like a moth to a flame.

I’ve been playing the crap out of The N. Sane Trilogy ever since I got it during its launch weekend and have not been disappointed with what I got. The graphics are superb, the gameplay was tweaked just enough to feel modern yet familiar, the soundtrack is life itself, and the new additions, while admittedly minor, are just enough to make the purchase worth it. Sure, the loading screens are a bit annoying, but the game itself is just what I wanted it to be. I highly encourage fans of the original games such as me to pick this game up when you get a chance. It’s a new take on 3 classics that I just know you’ll enjoy.

That being said, this trip down nostalgia lane got me thinking about the other big Crash Bandicoot game on PS1. What of the 4th and final Crash game to be developed by Naughty Dog, Crash Team Racing?

Released in 1999, Crash Team Racing was the first spin-off of the series and a staple of the 5th generation racing game scene alongside Mario Kart 64, Diddy Kong Racing, and Daytona USA among others. The game was beloved by critics and fans at the time, selling close to 5 million copies during its initial run. It’s still regarded as one of the most beloved PS1 games of all-time as well as one of the most beloved racing games ever made.

The game definitely had an impact, which is why I’m sure some fans may have been disappointed to see it not included in the N. Sane Trilogy. Granted, I’m of the opinion that it didn’t belong in this collection. It’s not a platformer like the other 3 games, it would require a whole new engine to get right, and how can you re-release CTR without online multiplayer? It would be a huge undertaking for Vicarious Visions to take on that game on top of the other 3 games. Plus, then you’d have people asking “Well, where’s Crash Bash then” (which is an entirely different conversation).

That’s not to say that I don’t think CTR should be reworked. It absolutely should. CTR is a fantastic game that aged well, plays well, and would be well-received by every human on the planet no doubt. This is especially true after seeing how great a job Vicarious Visions did with the N. Sane Trilogy. However, this does come with the question of how it can be done.

One idea is to remaster the game in the same way they remastered Crash 1 through Warped. It could be an add-on to the N. Sane Trilogy via DLC or its own separate title independent from NST. I can see the benefits of both plans. Clearly such content wouldn’t be free DLC, considering the amount of work necessary for making the game again. Giving the game the necessary gameplay tweaks, artistic recreations and new content wouldn’t come cheap. In fact, it may be so big an undertaking that it would probably be more worth it to release it as a downloadable PSN /physical title. It could be called “Crash Team Racing: The N. Sane Edition”. Sell it at $20, add online multiplayer, and you’re golden.

However, this comes with a couple possible roadblocks. Would it be worth it to Activision or fans to remaster one game for such a small price. From a fan’s perspective, sure, I’d pay $20 or so for a CTR remaster. (I’ve done it for DuckTales and I’d do it for CTR). However, I can imagine some gamer’s finding just 1 new take on an old game to be a bit less worth it. One of the major appeals of remasters is that you get several older games on superior hardware for the price of a full, new game; which would place a standalone CTR remaster at a disadvantage. If it came bundled with Crash Bash, that’s another story. Then again, that would make the package cost more, and I’m not sure enough people are fond enough of Crash Bash to justify that purchase. I would, but maybe others may not.

Then from the developer’s perspective, a remaster may be relatively easy to make considering they’re going off the original code, but it may cost a bit too much and take too much time to rework faithfully. Plus, is there really enough content in the game to guarantee a CTR remaster would sell. Sure the game has 5 modes and 15 characters, but modern racing games are still relatively packed with content. Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing has at least 24 characters in it (depending on platform), and Mario Kart 8 has a good 26 characters (before DLC and not accounting for the Deluxe version). For modern standards, the game may be a bit too small for modern audiences.

That’s why some may favor a second option a bit better: a full CTR remake. Not a remaster, but a from the ground up, standalone, new features included, remake.

Fun Fact: Back in 2010, Activision was looking to develop a CTR remake developed by High Impact Games before cancelling it for unknown reasons. It was honestly a pretty good idea. Considering the enriched Crash Bandicoot history that exists now, you could expand your roster to include characters like Crunch, Nina, and Tawna. You could also bring in one-off characters like Pasadena Opossum from Tag Team Racing, The Evil Twins from Twinsanity, and Emperor Velo from Nitro Kart. Hell, throw Spyro in while you’re at it. Beyond that, a full remake would be considered a brand new game at $60. This justifies the cost for online server maintenance, and allows Vicarious Visions to add new tracks to beef up the game even more.

This would still come with one drawback — you know, besides the price being higher. Such a plan would also give Vicarious Visions the ability to go off-script (or more appropriately off-code) from the original game. This opens the game up to potentially play radically different from the original, and you know what they say about fixing something that ain’t broke. Basically, a remake could serve to tarnish the original game. Then again, it also could be a good thing for the game. After all, the NST tweaked the control of the original 3 games and I still enjoy it. Maybe they’ll take care to improve the gameplay while also maintaining the feel of the original CTR. As a result you have a whole new take on a classic game.

Additionally, when you discuss a remake of the game, you have to ask yourself if now is the time to make it happen. Should such an idea wait for after the series has a new, original platformer under its belt before going straight to a racing game? Would it allow for new characters to be introduced and new ideas to be formed? Alternatively, would the hype around NST still be there in a few year’s time, and what if a new Crash game fails? A remake definitely comes with a lot of ifs and buts to the point where Activision may not be willing to take the risk just yet.

It’s interesting to think about CTR being remastered or remade. It’s an idea I most certainly love and would support either way if and when it comes up. Though, of the two options I personally lean more towards the remake idea. It may take more time to happen and sure they could potentially make the game worse, but the NST impressed me so much that I trust Vicarious Visions to make it work. Plus, imagine a CTR remake coming out on the game’s 20th anniversary in 2019. That would be awesome! Though if they decide to instead remaster the original game with online multiplayer, I’m totally fine with that, too.

Should there be a Crash Team Racing remake or remaster? Which option appeals to you most? Would you support either option, or would you rather they leave the game alone? Leave your thoughts in the comments below so we can discuss it together!

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

SBox Recommends: Spider-Man — Homecoming (Movie Review)

Note: SBR never spoils. You are safe. Enjoy!

Welcome back to SBox Recommends, where our motto is “Every film has its fans”. Here I review a movie and then determine who will like it best and who will like it the least.

This was far and away my most anticipated film of 2017. I’ve loved Spider-Man with a passion ever since Tobey Maguire first played him when I was 4 years old. I’ve seen every movie and loved them all (yes, even the bad ones), and few people were as excited as me when Spidey was finally announced to join the MCU. This excitement was further solidified by the fact that the character stole the show in Civil War last year, and making us all wish this movie would just come already. And come it finally did. Was it worth the wait? Continue reading SBox Recommends: Spider-Man — Homecoming (Movie Review)

SBox Stories: One Year with Pokemon GO

On July 6, 2016, players from Australia, New Zealand, and the United States first got their hands on the popular AR game, Pokemon GO. A venture between Google, Niantic, and Nintendo which used scraps from a similar Niantic title called Ingress, Pokemon GO would quickly go from a nifty little idea to an overnight global phenomenon. It’s hard to even fathom that the rise of Pokemon GO was a whole 12 months ago, but time sure does fly when your trespassing on someone’s backyard trying to catch a Squirtle.

I’ve been playing the game since the day it came out in America and am still a semi-active player of the game to this day. I’ve had some fun, witnessed the game’s many ups and downs, and engaged in general tomfoolery with the game from the very beginning. In honor of the occasion, I thought I’d walk you through my personal experience of playing the game the passed 365 days. At the same time, I’ll share my thoughts on the state of the game right now and what I think about the game’s future. Continue reading SBox Stories: One Year with Pokemon GO

2016 Movie Countdown: The Complete List & Why I Cancelled It

Every year for the passed 3 years I have held a small tradition on this blog called the (Annual) Movie Countdown. The idea was to compile a list of every single film I saw the previous year — both the ones I reviewed and the ones I didn’t — then, starting in January, cover each film from worst to best in marathon fashion. This is my way of retrospecting the previous year in film while also discussing films I couldn’t review fully for any number of reasons. It’s an idea I loved from the beginning and one that I find to be the most fun, if not a bit ambitious, posts to make. Continue reading 2016 Movie Countdown: The Complete List & Why I Cancelled It

SBox Soapbox: How Deadpool Can Fit Into the MCU

Though the Marvel Cinematic Universe hosts a great many characters in their movies, from Iron Man to Ant-Man to Spider-Man, not all Marvel characters are created equal. In fact, Marvel Studios has access to all but 3 of their biggest franchises’ film rights: Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Deadpool. Still, many fans of the Marvel characters and their films hope for a day when… you know what? Fuck it. This is part 3 of this series and I’ve started them nearly the same way every time. You get the point by now.

For those of you who are joining us for the first time, welcome! I’ve been going through all 3 of the Marvel properties owned by 20th Century FOX and discussing some of the ways Marvel Studios and Disney could go about hypothetically bringing these characters into the MCU. Continue reading SBox Soapbox: How Deadpool Can Fit Into the MCU

SBox Recommends: Transformers – The Last Knight (Movie Review)

Note: SBR never spoils. You are safe. Enjoy!

Welcome back to SBox Recommends, where our motto is “Every film has its fans”. Here I review a movie and then determine who will like it best and who will like it the least.

Let me start by saying I’m sorry. I do realize the gravity of what I’ve just done. I know that by seeing this in the theater (on opening day) I’m directly contributing to the problem these movies cause — a problem I promised myself to try and extinguish by simply staying home. All I had to do was just wait 2 measly weeks for Spider-Man, but no. I caved and saw this movie anyway, knowing it was a terrible idea. In my defense, T-Mobile made me do it. They offered tickets to the movie at just $4 and we were just so bored that day… more like weak.

I gave this movie my money and I’ll have to live with that now. The question now is should you do the same? Continue reading SBox Recommends: Transformers – The Last Knight (Movie Review)

SBox Soapbox: The Best of E3 2017!

Yesterday was the final day of E3 2017, where after 2 (or in this case 4) days of sitting through developer conferences, witnessing trailer after trailer as you go, you can now recap on the events of the previous days. Many use this day to get their hands on any additional footage, trailers, or information that either either slipped you by or are dropped at the last minute. I decided to do the same so that I could see the best E3 had to offer this year and, as promised, cover some of the standalone news from the show.

That’s why I decided to end E3 week with at least one post that highlighted some of the biggest standout games of the entire convention. I’ve already dedicated 3 posts to covering the Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo conferences, so now is the time to dedicate to absolutely any and everything.

The games I placed in this “Best of” list are simply ones that stood out to me the most and are in no particular order. I obviously won’t be covering every game at the show, and I’ll fully admit that I still haven’t seen every last game that made an appearance at E3. So, there may be quite a few noteworthy games that miss the list. I am still looking into some of the games that appeared at E3, though, and if I find enough games that are worth mentioning, I’ll try and make a Part 2 to this post. If you want my take on a certain game I didn’t mention, write it down in the comments, and I’ll be glad to discuss it with you.

Star Wars Battlefront II

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This was the first big announcement for me at E3. Yes, I have heard of there being a new Battlefront game before, but I was only tentatively excited for it due to what happened with the first game. What was supposed to be the best Star Wars game ever turned into a harsh lesson in how a company should not to handle DLC. However, after watching this year’s EA Play, I now believe Battlefront II is that perfect Star Wars game I wanted 2 years ago. Just the inclusion of a single player campaign is proof enough that this may be the case.

One of my favorite things about this game is how it takes full advantage of the source material. The game benefits from that attention to detail in more ways than one, and the most important of which is gameplay variety. You can shoot on the ground with a bevy of blasters if you want, or you can take the battle into the air and shoot down enemy X-wings. You can be a Stormtrooper, a rebel, a droid, or if you’re really good/lucky you can be a main character. Best of all, the game features characters from all 3 generations of Star Wars and can be on the battlefield at any time. I’m talking Boba Fett vs Captain Phasma. Darth Maul vs Darth Vader. Yoda vs Kylo Ren. It’s like a Star Wars Christmas!

… No not that one! Never that one!

Spider-Man

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This was the last and best thing Sony showed off at this year’s E3 by far. Last year I was so enamored and surprised by this announcement that I couldn’t wait to lay eyes on some gameplay footage. Having seen it, I’m glad to see everything I wanted it to be is coming true. It may not be an entirely unique game (taking a ton of inspiration from the Batman Arkham games), but that’s okay. This is a case where taking from Arkham is a good thing, especially since the Arkham series isn’t around anymore. Plus, they seemed to have customized it enough to fit Spidey’s abilities. Oh, and Miles Morales being there helps matters dramatically.

Super Mario Odyssey

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When I covered Nintendo’s Spotlight event, I mentioned how this could end up being the best 3D Mario game ever. Well, since then I’ve seen a ton of gameplay footage for the game. I don’t know how, but I become more and more in love with this game every time I see it. I love this game. I love the environments, the openness, the nonlinearity, the graphics, and especially the new abilities. Using Mario’s hat to do things like fling at enemies and bounce off it was a great idea. An even better one was using it to possess objects, enemies, and pedestrians. That was extraordinarily clever, especially when you throw T-Rexes into the mix.

Anthem

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I didn’t expect to like this game that much, but that was before I truly gave EA a chance to dazzle me with gameplay footage. On the surface it appears to be Horizon with cool-looking, non-cybernetic monsters and giant mech suits. Nothing too original, I’ll admit. But the way Bioware is implementing the suits’ gameplay is masterful. It’s strong, it’s fast, it’s sturdy, and it can fly. The suits can fly, guys! What more can you ask for?

Assassin’s Creed Origins

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Speaking of games I didn’t think I’d like as much as I did, the new Assassin’s Creed looks pretty damn, fun! It’s good to see the time Ubisoft took off to let the series breathe paid off. Choosing ancient Egypt as your setting was a great way to switch up the combat of the game, and the addition of the hawk was also a great idea for aiding exploration and seeking targets.

Skull & Bones

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This was one announcement I saw late in the convention, but I’m glad I sought it out. Remember when I mentioned in my Microsoft post when I mentioned there aren’t enough games about pirates these days? Well, I think Ubisoft heard me, because soon will be Skull & Bones. Unlike Sea of Thieves’ emphasis on exploration as well as battling, this one looks to be all about the ship battles. You and your fleet of pirates sail the vast online sea, sailing, seeking, and blasting your way to victory against any rival ships that come your way.

Avast, all ye who cross my path. For while I have the aim of a blind guy with no hands, I steer a fine ship!

Sea of Thieves

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Speaking of which, Sea of Thieves looks better this year than ever. I have very high hopes for this game after this year’s E3 than I did the past two ones combined. This gameplay demo showed off the game’s promise, but also its depth, something I admittedly became a bit worried about over time. Showing off how the game functions not only from an online battle perspective but also as an adventure game really made my anticipation for this game much higher.

Days Gone

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Easily my second favorite thing at the show, this is looking to be a great zombie game a la The Last of Us. Again, not the most original looking take on the genre, but what draws me towards it personally is how it takes a creative approach getting around difficult situations. Instead of walking to your next destination, you can take your motorcycle. The devices you have access to make sneaking around enemies much more strategic, though when you can afford to your hands can get plenty done. This game also has zombie bears in it! I’ve always wanted to fight a zombie bear, and now I can.

A Way Out

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Strange how a lot of games I’m looking forward to involve multiplayer or co-op, seeing as I’m a very single-player… player. One of EA’s more creative ventures sees you and a friend/online stranger playing as two inmates who are attempting a prison break. The game is strictly split-screen, too, which means you have to work together in order to pull off your plan and protect each other when you get out. If you skipped EA’s conference and don’t know about this one, I highly suggest looking this one up. Besides, the more people get their hands on this game, the more potential people I have to help me play this game.

Kingdom Hearts III

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Yes, the trailer dropped during E3, so it counts. Strangely, this is the first E3 since its announcement in 2013 (holy crap) to not have this game at a conference. Nonetheless, the new footage and story details look great. I’m still trying to catch up on the series, so I can’t say what looks new about it, but I can say that I’m loving the combat of this game. All those crazy moves look powerful and fun as hell. Seeing Hades again is awesome (even in Japanese), and I like how this story will apparently deal with Sora potentially utilizing the darkness.

There will be another trailer at D23 next week, so I’ll keep my eye on that. (If it doesn’t have a release date, I’ll be furious)!

Sonic Mania

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Both Sonic Forces and Sonic Mania were on the showfloor at E3. And yes, Sonic Forces looks like a ton of fun, and I’m looking forward to it, but have you seen the Sonic Mania footage that came out? I’m quite frankly stunned at how good and fun this game looks, especially for a fan project. The creativity that clearly went into this actual Sonic 4 needs to be seen. Why didn’t I think about those hand cannons to propel Sonic forward? The piano pieces, too, are a great addition as is the level design. This really is turning out to be the 2D Sonic game fans were waiting for.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

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As someone who hasn’t played a Wolfenstein game before, I didn’t really get the hype for a while. In fact, I only decided to give the trailer a go this morning and to realize… I’m an idiot! This game looks mad good, has a great story and lead character from what I’ve seen. As you’ve probably gathered from me so far, I love games that let me play with creative/insane weapons or have me face off against insane enemies. I’m pretty sure fighting Nazi robots while riding a giant, mechanical, flamethrowing wildebeest falls perfectly within that range.

Metroid: Samus Returns

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Finally, I wanted to give a little shine to one of Nintendo’s potentially overlooked announcements (seeing that this was unveiled during the Treehouse event and not the actual Spotlight). Huge props to Nintendo for finally giving Metroid the time of day with not one but two games. Now, the reason I’m keeping Metroid Prime 4 off the list is basically due to it being an early announcement with no gameplay. Meanwhile, Samus Returns has tons of footage to lust over and is a 2D sidescroller. As a fan of Super Metroid, this specifically interests me, and I can’t wait to try it out for myself in just 3 months.

Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back

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Oh, and did I mention this was at E3 this year? Don’t believe me? Well, I’ll just leave this here and… God help us all!


There are a ton of other interesting games that I couldn’t quite cover for time reasons, but these are just a few of the ones I’m especially amped for. Let me know in the comments what your favorite games of E3 were, and what you thought of E3 this year.

For those who joined me in discussing E3 this year, I want to thank you for coming along for the ride with me. If you missed my coverage and are interested in hearing my full thoughts on some of thses games, check the links above for my full conference posts. I plan on making at least one more post about E3, so keep an eye out for that!

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

SBox Soapbox: How Did Nintendo Do @ E3 2017?

Last year, Nintendo’s E3 presence was nothing to write home about. In fact, due to their switch from the Wii U to the… Switch, they really didn’t have much presence at all outside of Zelda and a few games we all already knew about at the time. Luckily, this year is the first to feature the Nintendo Switch as their main console, and though the system was already shown to have promise in past events, now is the time for Nintendo to actually show it! How will the Switch captivate audiences in the long run? Continue reading SBox Soapbox: How Did Nintendo Do @ E3 2017?

SBox Soapbox: How Did Sony Do @ E3 2017?

Before I get started, let me forewarn you that I’m fresh off watching the conference as I write this. Which may turn out to be a bad thing as I left the conference a little salty. We’ll get to that soon, though.

Welcome back to those who are joining me from my previous post about the Microsoft conference. For those joining me for the first time, I’m dedicating this whole week to the gaming superbowl that is E3 as I cover the big 3 conferences: Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. I will also be covering individual announcements from other conferences later in the week, but for right now it’s time to talk about Sony’s E3 conference. Continue reading SBox Soapbox: How Did Sony Do @ E3 2017?

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