I’ve been contemplating making a series like this for a while and figure what better time than now to finally test it out. Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pride and copious amounts of gas that I bring you the SBox NewsCorner, where I take random entertainment news from the passed week and discuss them with you. Continue reading SBox NewsCorner (3/1 – 3/7/18): Avengers Date Change, Oscars So In Trouble, Live Action Pooh, & Whatnot
Now that we’re in a fresh new year of 2018, it’s time to briefly look back on the year we’re leaving behind before setting our sights on the future. When I look back on my Most Anticipated Games of 2017 list, I notice a bit of a pattern forming in both my gaming habits and the industry in general. First, I have only played 2 of the 10 games I mentioned on my list last year: Crash Bandicoot and Tekken 7. Clearly I need to add “buy and play more games” to my resolutions list. Also, it turned out of those 10 mentioned games, one was delayed and one was even flat-out cancelled. (R.I.P. Scalebound! You were too badass for this world). That’s a sobering realization to say the least.
So, despite the odds of me playing all of these games this year is a bit slimmer than I realized, I’m opting to aim high anyway by listing off some of the games I’m looking forward to playing in 2018. Continue reading SBox Soapbox: My Most Anticipated Games of 2018
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
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!
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
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
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!
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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)!
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
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
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
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!
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?
Why is it that I’m never just be at home during E3? Seriously, I must have some kind of curse on me, because it always seems like the same thing happens to me every year. No matter how much I plan this shit out, something always comes up that makes me either miss the first day or makes me barely miss the big conferences. Luckily, this year saw my spontaneous family outing wrapped up just in time for me to catch the first major show of the biggest event in gaming: Microsoft’s “Xbox @ E3 2017 Briefing”. Continue reading SBox Soapbox: How Did Microsoft Do @ E3 2017?
Thursday was a fairly interesting day in my life. I was in my room, minding my own business when suddenly I felt a great disturbance in the universe. It’s as if a million annoying voices were silenced and suddenly cried out. This disturbance was enough to take me aback as I couldn’t believe my very eyes. I started doubting the fabric of reality itself as my brain was processing this very image. My muscles tensed as my neck automatically extended itself towards what lay before me, as if my body was grasping to one last shred of denial left before finally accepting the truth.
The truth came without warning, occurring like a thief in the night. It had neither rhyme nor reason for its being here. No one could’ve predicted the terror that approached from the distance. Alas, it has made itself known and life as we know it has officially declared itself dead… Bubsy… has… returned!
I write this from the confinement of my remote, bobcat-repelling bunker where that wretched demon thing cannot possibly reach me. Hopefully you’ve done the same. Only after hours and hours of crying in the fetal position have I mustered the strength needed to address this disaster head-on. And I must do it now, for it has been over 2 days since the incident. The longer I wait, the less time the world has to make similar arrangements such as I. However, as I sit here alone, distressed, and clearly off my medication, I’ve arrived at an optimistic query: could this game actually be good?
For those who don’t know of what I speak, Bubsy the Bobcat is an abominable hell-spawn whose origins date back to 1993 through the video game, Bubsy in the Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind. Bubsy is a simple creature with a simple goal: destruction. His hobbies include making babies cry and attaching butterflies to spider webs only to watch them be slowly and tragically devoured. He also knits on occasion. His appearance is that of an otherwise adorable creature, a bobcat, but this is only one of his horrible forms as evidence through the warning he bears on his shirt: an exclamation point reddened by the blood of his victims; including, but not limited to, the Atari Jaguar. True story. Some say his true from was made in the image of Satan, but few have lived to tell about it. His voice is the only known cause of ear herpes, and some say that his games even smell of the foulest odor known to zebra-kind.
It took a team of hundreds of heroes known as “game critics” to finally put the beast down in the year 1996 after his fourth and final game, Bubsy 3D, nearly wiped out the human race. From then on, he laid dormant and assumably dead. Nothing more than a laughable legend for quite some time… Until now!
Resurrected under the influence of the long-disbanded Accolade, ignited by a Hong-Kong based company called Billionsoft, and molded by Black Forrest Games (creators of Giana Sisters), Bubsy returns in the form of a fifth God-forsaken game, Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back. The game takes on a form similar to that of his roots as a 2D sidescroller. (Perhaps he’s holding back his next 3D incarnation for the final stage of his evil scheme). He brings with him his trademark methods of torture, such as gliding, jumping, climbing, and failed comedy-ing. The game itself seems unassuming enough, if not a bit generic, but only he knows of what wretched controls he may be eager to inflict upon the world.
To make matters potentially worse, after a team of the greatest minds on Earth were assembled to analyze the approaching atrocity, they have predicted the unthinkable. It is said that when Bubsy returns, he shall have over “a 100” new catchphrases!
Could there even be a bright side to such a catastrophic turn of events? Shit! Was that a pun I just wrote?… I don’t think I have much time left! If this is the last post I make before Bubsy takes over my mind and removes my organs, allow me to leave you with just one ounce of hope.
You see, I recently had a thought occur to me, more like a vision of sorts. I’m not sure if it was the Lord reaching out to me or the fact that I’m in desperate need of therapy, but something bigger than myself told me this. There’s a chance that this may be nothing more than… a simple cash grab aimed at those who get the joke and will buy this purely out of curiosity. And Accolade knows that they’re the laughing stock of the 90’s mascot platforming boom, so this was strategically made into a pre-E3 announcement to drum up publicity.
It’s a strategy diabolical in a way, but it’s also hilarious and brilliant. Even I made this whole, overdramatic post about it for laughs, thereby promoting this game that shouldn’t exist even more. And you know what, I don’t mind at all. The way I see it is that this is only the second sign of 2017 being the year of the infamous game comeback. For those who don’t know, a new Shaq-Fu game was also recently announced for all consoles including the Switch (because Shaq-Fu’s awesome cannot be contained for just home console-play apparently). If that game can exist in a civilized society, then why not this, too?
Am I gonna buy the new Bubsy game when it comes out? No! I like my money too much, but I’m curious to see how this works out for Accolade and Billionsoft. I’ll laugh my ass off whether this turns out to be just as bad as one would expect, and I’ll laugh even harder if it turns out to be decent. To me its quality relies heavily on whether Black Forrest Games decides to recapture the “spirit” so to speak of the original games. Then they can advertise this as an “authentic Bubsy experience” and my life will be complete, as would yours!
I hope you guys enjoyed this post. This was a lot of fun to make. Let me know in the comments whether or not you, too, have accepted Bubsy as your lord and savior!
I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!
I’ve covered a lot of movies in early development before, but few have been so hard to discuss as the tumultuous Uncharted movie. Based on the popular PlayStation exclusive series of action-adventure games by Naughty Dog, this movie has been of interest to me for years now. Uncharted is already one of my favorite, if not my actual favorite, video game series ever. I love everything about these games: the gameplay, the story, the characters, the environments, the puzzles, everything. It’s basically a modern Indiana Jones with Tomb Raider’s gameplay. What’s not to love? How is this not a setup not just destined for film? Continue reading SBox Soapbox: Uncharted Movie Is Now a Prequel (Yay or Nay?)