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I'm just a guy who LOVES video games. I'm an aspiring journalist and I hope I can connect with many of you gamers out there!
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All of my life I have loved video games. But when and where did this love begin? Well, it started with my first video game console and my earliest memories on the Nintendo 64. I don't usually talk about the Nintendo 64, but this blog, at least for nostalgic purposes and for an admiration of the console, will include my memories and feelings on the Nintendo 64. I would not love video games if it were not for my amazing parents and my awesome brothers. I love you, you awesome people!

My first experiences with video games are because I grew up with older brothers. Around age four or five, I got my first taste of the legendary Nintendo 64. At the time, this was the only video game system I knew of. I did not know about the NES, the SNES, the Sega Genesis, etc. I thought Nintendo was a company that made an awesome home console and I did not know until later how innovative Nintendo was and how impressive their track record was. Looking back in retrospect, it's funny when your parent refers to every video game console as "that Nintendo game" because that was the most popular name in video games at the time.

My brothers and myself put a colossal amount of time into some of the best games on the Nintendo 64. One memory was experiencing the magical world of Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I have so many great memories  playing that masterpiece with my brothers. We beat the hell out of that game and to this day, that is my favorite game ever. I remember playing Goldeneye and Perfect Dark against my brothers and against computers. Rare was a powerhouse in the 90s! I was not as good as my brothers when it came to competitive games, but I still had so much fun. Very recently, one of my brothers and myself played the original Super Smash Bros. for fun and memories from prior times came rushing through my mind. We used to play that game for hours on end - never growing tired of the same game modes over and over again. With the biggest smile on my face, playing the game over ten years later, I got to experience those memories of Super Smash Bros. again. StarFox 64 is also a game we played through well over 100 times. Trying to beat each other's scores and clear each level without getting hit added so much depth to my experiences with the game. "Do a barrel roll!" will stick with me for years. One little phrase like that is funny, but it also means so much to me because I think of bonding with my brothers with video games.

The Nintendo 64 was not just a great console with great games - it was the system that began my love for games. I made my way to other video game consoles and made more memories as I grew older, but none of those memories will ever compare to the ones I have from the Nintendo 64 era with my brothers. The Nintendo 64 is the reason why I want to be in the video game industry in some form. The Nintendo 64 is also why I am excited for the future so I can introduce video games to my child. I want to gain new memories sharing my passion with those I love and I want others to gain memories with people they love. Whether it is an NES or a PlayStation 4, people should play games to have fun and to create memories because video games are a beautiful medium.

What are some of your earliest memories with video games? Share your thoughts!
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My friend recently asked me an interesting question. "If you were on an island and you could only bring three games to play for the duration of your time on the island, which games would you bring? Your time on the island would be quite lengthy, too. Online capabilities, if there are any, are allowed and the games you choose can be any games you want." Choosing three of my favorite games ever is the obvious choice, but sometimes your favorite games, except for a select few, can become redundant. The first two choices were easy for me, but the third choice took some serious thought. These are the three games I would choose to bring if I were stranded on an island for an extended period of time.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: I know I said my favorite games would get redundant, but Ocarina of Time is a rare exception. I have completed this game well over ten times and not once did I feel "sick of it", primarily because of nostalgia. But also because I feel that there is so much to do in this game's world of Hyrule, and there are a number of ways I can challenge myself to complete the game. Each area is full of unique side quests and quirky characters. For refreshing challenges I can try to complete the game with only three hearts, which doesn't seem too difficult since I know the game well enough. Next, I could try to 100% Ocarina of Time, which again, does not seem very difficult, but it adds a nice challenge. These small challenges would provide an incentive to play through the game again and again. Ocarina of Time, at least for me, is an extraordinary game that provides an experience I can enjoy time and time again.  I have a personal bias with Ocarina of Time; it is the first game I have ever completed and it is probably my favorite game ever. If I were on an island, I would never get bored with Ocarina of Time.

NHL 14: I would have included the next installment in the NHL series, but it has not been released yet, though I imagine it will be fantastic nonetheless. Anyways, the NHL series is my favorite franchise among sports games. Not only because I am a huge hockey fan, but NHL games are also my favorite because there is so much to do among the Franchise mode, Be A Pro mode, playing online, etc. The NHL series plays well, it's realistic and it provides the most fun for me out of any sports franchises. I am a sucker for any game that allows me to create myself. With sports games, I am a sucker for career modes. I will play the Be A Pro career mode for well over 100 hours because it is super addicting. Doing a fantasy draft and selecting the young, future stars or starting a normal franchise and trading for young talent is why I love the series so much. The NHL series possesses quality through and through and I could not be more excited for the next installment. 

Mario Kart 8: Why Mario Kart 8? Because it is so much fun and it's beautiful and it is my favorite entry in the series. With the Mario Kart series, you know one thing is a guarantee: consistency. The levels are great, the power-ups - especially the new ones - are exhilarating to use and there are so many characters to play as! Yeah I would have preferred fewer babies and a smaller number of Bowser's henchmen, but each racer has different stats, which makes it fun to play as each racer. Having Dry Bones or Boo as racers would have been great, too. I have played Mario Kart 8 for about 30 hours thus far and I could easily sink another 30 hours into the game. Playing Mario Kart alone is not as fun as playing online or playing with friends, but it is still a blast. Mario Kart 8 is the perfect game if you were stranded on an island.

If you were stranded on an island and could only bring three games, which games would you bring? Share your thoughts!
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Hey folks, sorry I haven't written in a long time! I have been busy with school and writing for an awesome website you guys should check out. It's called icedjgaming.weebly.com. But nonetheless, I will try and get more blogging done on here. I appreciate your support! Enjoy :D

Physical vs. Digital- All of my life I have owned physical copies of video games; it was natural for me. With the rise of digital gaming, it is inevitable that we are moving to a digital based video game community. While I am willing to accept this change, I have some major gripes with digital versions of video games. Here are my thoughts:

Digital Games Take Up More Memory-

My biggest gripe with digital games is the memory these games take up in a hard drive. My prime example is with my Wii U. Sadly, and annoyingly, the deluxe model of the Wii U only has a 32GB hard drive. Little under half of my available 32GB of storage is being used for two digital games - Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (which I've invested 50 hours into and I don't have a 3DS to transfer my data) and Pikmin 3 (which I'm slowly progressing through and will be deleted once I complete the game). While this issue can easily be remedied with a large flash drive, it's annoying that my primary gaming console has so little memory.

Even my friends, primarily owners of an Xbox One or PlayStation 4, complain about the massive data games take up. I understand that developers are still figuring out the specs of these new systems and a new console is a legitimate reason why games, at least digitally, are taking up so much space. I'm sure once developers have had their hands on these systems for an extended period of time, these digital games will be able to take less memory to install and download. But for now, from what my friends have told me, it is annoying that their systems have almost no memory remaining and these consoles (PS4/Xbox One) aren't even a year old yet. But like I previously mentioned, developers are still learning how to create huge games for new hardware and with time they will know the limitations.

Why I Prefer Physical Games-

I have owned physical copies of video games my entire life and I enjoy seeing my collection on a shelf. I believe a gamer, no matter the size of their video game library, can be defined (In a good way) by the library they posses. The respective library a gamer owns, in my opinion, shows what they are interested in and I appreciate that. And what is cooler than having a huge, diverse stack of video games in your room? Maybe America? Yeah, America is definitely more awesome, but that's another topic for another day.

I love driving to my local GameStop with my buddy and just looking around at all the awesome games on the shelves. I may buy a game or two, I may not. Each trip to GameStop is a different experience and that is what makes both video games and owning physical games so special. For me, there is no experience quite like buying a brand new game and tearing the shrink wrap off the case and seeing that new, beautiful disc for the first time.

Physical And Digital Versions Are Both Efficient (For Me)-

The best part about digital games is the fact that I can turn my system on at anytime and start playing a game right away. Smaller, non triple A games and Indie games are perfect because there is less to download as opposed to a first party or third party title. While it's super efficient and convenient, downloading a large game can take a long time and having an average Internet connection, band witch, etc. can really cause downloads to slow down even more. With physical games, this does not happen. There may be a few minuscule downloads for updates and such, but these small updates take mere minutes compared to downloading a digital game, which could potentially take an hour, maybe longer.

Those were my thoughts on physical games vs. digital games. Which do you prefer? Share your thoughts!
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6:02 PM on 07.01.2014

Shovel Knight is a tribute to the NES classics and more. Featuring elements from Mega Man, DuckTales, The Legend of Zelda, and Super Mario Bros., Shovel Knight is an extraordinary action/platformer title developed by Yacht Club Games. With a great presentation, smooth gameplay, memorable characters and lots of treasure, Shovel Knight is my game of the year so far in 2014.

When playing Shovel Knight, it felt like I was playing an NES game. While the NES definitely could not handle Shovel Knight, it looked and sounded like an 8-bit game. The graphics made me appreciate the beauty of both Shovel Knight and its NES inspirations. Games don't need to look breathtaking and Shovel Knight illustrates that. Complimenting the retro graphics is a soundtrack that harkens back to the days when soundtracks enhanced gaming experiences despite being on limited hardware.

The gameplay in Shovel Knight is a mix of Mega Man and DuckTales. Shovel Knight uses his shovel as his weapon in two ways: One way is slashing enemies either left or right and the latter is using the shovel like a pogo stick - formerly used in DuckTales. The stages in Shovel Knight are like Mega Man where you defeat the enemies and move to the next frame in the stage. Each stage features a unique boss with a fight designed for the style of the stage you are playing. Unlike most NES games, which were very difficult, Shovel Knight is not terribly difficult and has checkpoints after every few frames. These checkpoints have a twist, though. If you're a masochist and want a more difficult experience, you can destroy the checkpoints for gems, creating a risk vs. reward type of experience. The platforming aspect is slower and is not spot on like Super Mario games, but rather slick at times. This is not a major issue, considering the jumps are usually up to the player's ability.

Shovel Knight features an over world map like Super Mario Bros. 3 and features towns like Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. You access the numerous stages, towns, and special events across the large map. Along with the stages and towns, there are treasure stages and mini-boss encounters for the player to take on. Players are rewarded with money, which they can use to increase health, increase magic, upgrade new weapons and armor, and purchase various sub weapons. While these upgrades are optional, gaining another health tab feels awesome. Shovel Knight also features new game plus for anyone seeking a more difficult challenge.

Shovel Knight is an amazing action platformer that reminds us how influential and amazing the NES was. Featuring mechanics from many classics, Shovel Knight embraces its inspirations while not copying these games. Shovel Knight is its own game and is a game of the year contender. This game is a must own for retro fans, indie game fans, and anyone who wants a memorable experience.


A wonderful tribute to the NES classics

Smooth gameplay

Memorable bosses

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I was recently asked which moment in video games made me the most sad. That is a difficult answer because I usually don't think about things that make me sad - especially when it comes to video games. But after some extensive thinking, I have the moment in video games that made me the most sad.

One of my favorite games of all time is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time; it is also the first game I ever completed. After defeating Ganon at the end, I felt a sense of triumph and excitement. The final scenes were rolling and I began to reflect upon the amazing adventure I had just experienced. But soon after the sages sealed Ganondorf, I began to watch the sad scene where Zelda informs Link that he must return to the time before Hyrule went to chaos and how Link must seal the Master Sword in the Temple of Time and become young again. When I first watched this scene, I was about six years old and I did not understand why Link had to become young again. I thought Zelda was being selfish and I was so upset after this scene. But as I grew older and played through the game again, I realized why Link could no longer be an adult and why the story ended with a sad moment; until Zelda and Link met again as children.

That moment is the saddest moment in video games for me. Which moment in video games made you sad? Share your thoughts!

Super Smash Bros. on the 3DS was arguably the best handheld shown at E3. The newest entry in Nintendo's popular fighting series looks great and is perfect for a handheld system. Super Smash Bros. on the 3DS is not a simple port; this is a full-fledged game. The game includes the full roster, numerous game modes, and a unique art style. Super Smash Bros. on the go sounds awesome. If there is a Super Smash Bros. 3DS bundle, I will be purchasing it day one.

Are you excited for Super Smash Bros.? If so, which version(s)?