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About
I'm just a dude in his mid-twenties who loves video games, movies, anime, and a bunch of other stuff. I don't write on a regular basis, so if you came here expecting that, you'll be disappointed. However, I do hope you enjoy the few things I do write here.

I'm a freelance programmer/web designer, so if you need someone to do a webpage or to make a game with, PM me. I'm also working on a game with some fellow Dtoiders, and when we have something solid, I'll talk about it here.

My five favorite games of all time are:

1. Super Mario Galaxy
2. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
3. Portal
4. Bioshock
5. Metroid Prime
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Xbox LIVE:GoofierBrute
Steam ID:GoobyPls
Wii U code:GoobyPls89
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So, Super Smash Bros. 4 came out on the 3DS in Japan a little more than a week ago in Japan, revealing the final roster for us to see (don't worry, I won't spoil it here for those of you who don't want to know, and I ask anyone who reads this to do the same). The roster was rather impressive, and I feel that Sakurai and his team should be commened for putting together a diverse roster of characters to play around with. Despite that, I still wasn't sure who I was going to use as my main. Indeed, a lot of the characters looked really fun, but none of them I felt really clicked with me as someone I would want to main.  Rosalina is my favorite Mario character and is from my favorite game of all time, but seemed too techinical for my tastes. Greninja looked cool, but I usually don't main Pokemon in Smash. Robin and Lucina were both from my favorite game of last year, but I needed someone that packed a punch. I needed someone who could hit hard and fast, who could get in close and wreck his opponent, but who was fast and nimble enough to get out of harm's way. I needed someone who had the eye of the tiger, who could float like butterfly, sting like a bee, and all those other Rocky refernces. And then it hit me.

After months of uncertainty, I felt so foolish that the obvious answer was right in front of me the whole time. And so, my fellow Dtoiders, I come to you now as a changed man. I have seen the error of my ways; I have seen the light, and it is beautiful. It gives me great joy to finally utter these sacred words at last; I call DIBS on Little Mac for Super Smash 4. Little Mac is everything that you want in a Smash character and then some. He's got the heart of a champion, and the power to back it up. He's taken on some of the biggest, baddest, meanest boxers the WVBA could throw at him, and lived to tell the tale. Little Mac is the greatest character ever, and here are just a few of the reasons why I'm going to main him.

ORAORAORAORAORAORA!

1. Little Mac Is Great At Taking On Impossible Odds

 At first glance, you might be thinking that Little Mac doesn't stand much of a chance in Smash. I mean, the starting roster alone includes a pair of brothers that shoot fire from their hands, a Peter Pan knockoff who's chosen by the gods to wield the "Blade of Evil's Bane", a giant gorilla, two fire breathing reptiles, three legendary swordsmen and a mage, a goddess and her angel errand boy, an intergalctic MILF, a ninja frog, a robot whose nickname is the Blue Bomber, a bounty hunter that shoots missles from her arm, a British guy who can see into the future, and Captain Falcon. Yeah, those aren't exactly great odds, and to say Little Mac has an uphill battle is an understatement. But you know what? That's just an average day in the life of Little Mac. Time and again, Little Mac has proven that you should never under-estimate him, as doing so is bad for your health. In his first game, Little Mac dreamed of being a champion boxer, but no trainer would take him on because he was considered too small to box. Things changed when he met Doc Louis, a former heavyweight boxer himself, took Little Mac under his wing and taught him everything he knows, including his patented Star Punch, and before long Little Mac was working his way up the World Video Boxing Association, before ultimately taking on Kid Dynamite Mike Tyson himself (which I'll cover in a bit). So no, I'm not worried about Little Mac; if anything, I'm worried about the other players. Which brings me to my next point....

2. Little Mac Doesn't Need A Gimmick To Win

This is for Sonic '06!

Little Mac doesn't have a gun. He doesn't have wings, he doesn't shoot lasers from his arm, he doesn't have a piece of a sacred triangle in his hand, nor does he possess a sword created by a divine dragon. He doesn't shoot electricity from his cheeks, he doesn't have Pikmin, a Toad, or Lumas to fight for him, and he isn't Captain Falcon. So what does Little Mac have? Pure, raw power. His punches are fast and powerful, which he uses to wail on anyone who makes jokes about his height. He can bob and weave like the best of them, and you can't do a thing about because he can get up close and personal when he has to be, and clear out when he has to cool off. And that's not even considering his unique Star Punch, which is powerful enough to KO any poor sucker who was too stupid or slow enough to get out of the way.So yeah, keep your Triforce of Courage and your magic books and Power Suit. None of it is going to do you a damn bit of good as Little Mac sends you on a one way trip to the hospital; hope you don't mind the food.

3. Little Mac took on Mike Tyson......AND WON

THE FIGHT OF THE CENTURY!

Yes, THAT Mike Tyson. The same Mike Tyson who holds the record as the youngest boxer to win the Heavyweight Boxing Champion title for the WBC (World Boxing Council), the WBA (World Boxing Assocation) and the IBF (International Boxing Federation) at 20 years old, and the only boxer in history to hold all three titles AT THE SAME TIME. The same Mike Tyson who won his first 19 fights by KO, 12 which he KO'ed IN THE FIRST ROUND. The same Mike Tyson who won 50 of his 58 career matches. The same Mike Tyson who BIT OFF A PIECE OF EVANDER HOLYFIELD'S EAR. And the same Mike Tyson who owned not one, not two, but THREE white bengal tigers; but he was crazy like that. Say what you will about the terrible stuff he did outside of the ring, but in the ring, at his prime, Mike Tyson was not a force to be taken lightly. And Little Mac, knowing everything I just told you, looked to Doc Louis and said, "yeah, I can take him". And he did too, something that no other Smash character can claim. 

4. Little Mac wears A Pink Jump Suit

Just looking at this picture gets me pumped

I saved the best and most important reason for last. Little Mac wears a pink jumpsuit, which is actually one of his alternate costumes in Smash 4. And since everyone knows that pink is the manliest color ever, we can conclude that Little Mac is a manly character since he wears manly colors. "But Goof", I hear you say. "Pink isn't a manly color! It's girly color that only girly girls wear!" Do you wanna who else wears pink? Batman. And Captain Falcon. And I think we can agree, both of them are people you don't want to mess with. Kind of like Little Mac.

And those are the reasons why I'm calling DIBS on Little Mac in Smash 4. You're probably reading this and saying to yourself "man, that intelligent, handsome, modest gentleman GoofierBrute really convinced me  of the awesomeness that is Little Mac. I can't wait to use him!" To bad, because I already called DIBS. Don't worry though, I'm sure there are other awesome character you can use, like Mario....and Link...maybe Pit, I guess? Of course, it isn't going to matter who you pick to use, because in my hands, Little Mac is going to be unstoppable. We'll crush any and all opposition that comes our way. And we'll have a blast doing it. So if you see someone online playing Little Mac, you should probably run, since I play for keeps.

See you on October 3!









         Love them or hate them, there’s no denying the impact Nintendo has had on the video game industry. Originally a card maker started in 1889, Nintendo tried its hand in multiple industries (including rice, taxi cab services, and love hotels), settling on making toys in 1966, and then getting into the video game market by securing the exclusive right to distribute the Magnavox Odyssey console in Japan in 1974. While they began developing their own console in 1977 called the Color TV Game and their first portable device called the Game & Watch in 1979, it wasn’t until 1981 that Nintendo first found success in the video game industry by converting unsold arcade cabinets of a game called Radar Scope into what would become their first smash hit; Donkey Kong. The game would go on to do much better than Nintendo expected, quickly becoming a major success in North America, spawning multiple ports to the Atari 2600 and Colecovision, toys, a sequel the following year (with a spinoff so after that), and even two cartoons that were loosely based on the game (which wasn’t very good). Nintendo used this newfound success to release another home console in 1983 called the Family Computer (or Famicom) in Japan, and in the US as the rest of the world as the Nintendo Entertainment System a couple years later; and the rest is history.

         I personally make no secret of the fact that I love Nintendo. Ever since I got a SNES one Christmas from my godparents despite the objection of my parents, I’ve been a huge fan, with many of their games being some of my favorite games of all time. And while they do things that I don’t always approve *cough* Virtual Boy *cough*, there’s no denying the company has left an indelible mark on me. Hell, I’d go so far as to say that there games are one of the reasons I’m the man I am today, though the jury is still out on whether that’s a bad thing or not. This year, Nintendo is celebrating their 125th anniversary as a company (September 23 to be exact), and to celebrate this momentous occasion, I’ve compiled a list of my ten all-time favorite first party games, starting with numbers ten through six.

        Before we begin, a few things to go over. First, this list is only covering Nintendo’s first party games (I promise to do a list about third party games one of these days). Second, I’m only including one entry per franchise, so as to give every series a chance and to have a bit of diversity. Finally, when I was coming up with this list, I considered the various Mario spinoff games (Mario Kart, Mario Party, etc.) as well games starring characters that originated from Mario (like Wario and Yoshi) as their own series; also as always, this is my personal opinion, this list shouldn’t be taken as fact, etc. And with all of that out of the way, let’s get started. *does Iwata Nintendo Direct hand thing*

10. Kirby Super Star (SNES)

        I love the Kirby series. Ever since I played the original game on the original Gameboy, I’ve enjoyed every game in the series. From its bright colors and music, to its unique Copy ability mechanic, the series is one that I hold very close to my heart. And unlike most Nintendo franchises that I love like Mario and Zelda, I’ve yet to find a Kirby game that I didn’t like. They’re all very good games for different reasons, but the one Kirby game that sticks out in my mind is easily Kirby Super Star, a game that came out late in the Super Nintendo’s life cycle.

       Marketed as eight games in one, Kirby Super Star is unique in that there’s no overarching story in this game; rather, each game has its own self-contained narrative, akin to something you would see in a sitcom. And these aren’t simple mini-games either; each of the games present feels like it could have been a full blown game if HAL Laboratories wanted to, and it would be pretty awesome. One minute you’re playing the abridged version of Kirby’s Dream Land, and the next you’re exploring a huge underground cavern for treasure in The Great Cave Offensive; my personal favorite is Meta Knight’s Revenge, where Kirby has to board Meta Knight’s flying ship the Halberd (a.k.a that one stage from Super Smash Bros. Brawl) and disable it bit by bit, all while Meta Knight and his colorful crew taunt you over the intercom. Super Star is also the game that introduced a lot of core concepts that would be later implemented into future Kirby games (like a health meter, Kirby wearing hats whenever he got powers, co-op, etc.), as well as introducing some fan favorite Copy abilities, like Plasma, Jet, Wing, Ninja, and my personal favorite, Yo-Yo.

          Kirby Super Star wasn’t the best game on the Super Nintendo, but it’s still an excellent platformer, and is easily the best Kirby game. Hal Laboratories really put a lot of effort into making Super Star an excellent game, and they succeed as far as I’m concerned. It’s just a shame that the game came out so late in the Super Nintendo’s life cycle, that most people never got a chance to play it. Thankfully, it’s out on the Virtual Console and there was a remake released in 2008 for the DS, not to mention it was a game on the Kirby 20th Anniversary Collection. Regardless of where you get it, you should definitely check out Kirby’s Super Star; you’ll be glad you did.

9. Super Smash Bros. Brawl (WII)
       Before I go any further, let me just address the three-hundred pound gorilla in the room right now (no, I’m not talking about Donkey Kong); tripping in Super Smash Bros. Brawl is stupid. It adds nothing to positive to the game, it makes matches more chaotic than they need to be, and if it wasn’t in the game, Brawl would be much higher on the list. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about how awesome Super Smash Bros. Brawl is. So it’s no secret that the Super Smash Bros. series is a love letter to all things Nintendo, uniting the Big N’s most recognizable (and not so recognizable) characters, where they ultimately beat the crap out of each other with baseball bats, fans, and the occasional Pokémon. Brawl takes this concept and love for Nintendo and amps it up to eleven.
       From the incredible opening (complete with awesome and totally out of place music) to the roster and stages, Super Smash Bros. Brawl oozes with Nintendo fan service, which on its own wouldn’t be enough to warrant a spot on this list. No, what puts Brawl on this list for me over the much popular Super Smash Bros. Melee is quite simply I had more fun with Brawl than I did Melee. Yeah that’s really all there is to it; I wish I could say more, but that’s really the main reason. The characters were a blast to play as (Lucas and Pokémon Trainer were my go to mains), the Final Smashes were as awesome to use as they were to see, and unlike in Melee, I was able to have fun with both my casual friends and my hardcore serious friends without one group feeling left out. And while it’s no Super Mario World, the Subspace Emissary mode was a fun diversion that did what it was supposed to do, which was to provide you with an entertaining alternative to unlocking all the characters.
       I know some of you are going to read this and disagree with me, and I don’t blame you. There’s a reason why Super Smash Bros. Melee is still being popular among the fighting game community to this day, being a prominent game at major fighting tournaments like EVO. However, while I do enjoy Melee, I had a lot more fun and much fonder memories of Brawl. Yeah, it’s a bit slower and tripping is the dumbest mechanic I’ve ever seen in a game, but it’s still fun and one of the best local multiplayer games to play with friends on the couch. And that alone makes it my favorite game in the Super Smash Bros. series and worth being put on this list; at least until Super Smash Bros. 4 comes out.

8. Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)
      Like many of you, I was first introduced to the Fire Emblem series by way of Marth and Roy being playable characters in Super Smash Bros. Melee; I knew next to nothing about these characters when I first saw them, but it didn’t take long for me to want to know more about this strange series they hailed from. So when a new Fire Emblem (subtitled Sword of Flames in Japan) game was first announced to be localized for the U.S., I jumped at the chance to see what the heck this Fire Emblem series was all about; and what I got was……completely different than what I was expecting. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved the game when it came out and I played it; I just didn’t think it would be a turn based strategy game with permadeath, a rock-paper-scissor combat system (otherwise known as the Weapon Triangle), and weapons that had a finite use before breaking. But once I got over the initial shock, I fell in love with the game and the series, and before long I was checking out the past games via an emulator (without English subtitles I might add) and looking forward to the future games in the series. I played all of them in some capacity over the years, but the one that stuck out the most in my mind was the latest game in the series, Fire Emblem: Awakening, which was both a new game and a love letter to fans.
      You see, even though Fire Emblem Awakening doesn’t alter the core gameplay too drastically, it did bring back and refine some mechanics from previous games. The marriage and child system (first introduced in the fourth Fire Emblem game) is in this game, as well as a world map (from Sacred Stones), and having a player created character like in the remake of Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem (I’m not even going to try spelling the Japanese name) are just a few of the examples of Awakening paid homage to its roots; that’s not to say Awakening doesn’t have original ideas of its own. This is the first game (and hopefully not the last) to incorporate a mechanic called Pair Up, in which two units become one and attack an enemy as a pair, increasing certain stats depending on which classes are paired up (a Knight increases Defense, a Mage increase Magic, etc.), as well as gaining certain benefits in battle depending on how close the two units are, such as blocking an attack or helping out in taking down an enemy. It sounds like a simple addition (and it is), but it adds a lot of depth to an already deep game, since it strikes a perfect balance between having less units to work with on the map and having two units hook up so that their daughter can reclass into a Dark Flier and learn Galeforce.
      Of course, no mention of Fire Emblem: Awakening would be complete without talking about the units themselves; I’ve played a lot of the Fire Emblem games, but Awakening is the first game in which I can remember who everyone in my army was without having to look them up on a wiki. Granted, none of the units you recruit are all that special on their own (and in fact some of them are a bit cliché), but as a whole they’re a charming group of individuals, with support conversations that are at times somber and serious while funny and wacky at other times. It really goes a long way into making you care about these characters, which in turn makes you more aware of the battlefield to insure that your favorite Pegasus Knight doesn’t get an arrow in the butt. And that’s the root of what makes Awakening so great; it’s one of those rare games where the gameplay and the narrative go hand in hand, resulting in a game that’s not only one of the best Fire Emblem games, but also one of the best games on the 3DS. Oh, and before anyone asks on who the best spouse is, the correct answer is Lucina; it’s always Lucina.

7. Star Fox 64 (Nintendo 64)
       The Nintendo 64 (or N64 for short) and the Wii U have a lot in common (okay technically you can include the Gamecube as well, but I’m going somewhere with this). They both used technology which was considered out of date at the time (N64 with cartridges, Wii U with graphics and processing power from the previous generation), both had weird controls that divided the gaming community (the N64 controller and the Wii U Gamepad), but most importantly, both had pretty lousy third party support (though to be fair, the N64 fared a bit better in that department than the Wii U has so far). But if there was one thing that N64 owners could be proud of (other than being able to play four player splitscreen), it was the fact that it was the only place to get some high quality first party Nintendo games. Indeed, many of these games released by the Big N not only became the gold standard for their respective genre (Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, Goldeneye) for years to come, but were also well made fun games (Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, Paper Mario). Not every N64 owner owned every Nintendo game, but if there’s one game that every N64 fan had in their collection (or at least every N64 kid I knew had it in their collection), it was Star Fox 64, which was not only a blast to play, but was also the first game to heavily use the then newly released Rumble Pak, a device that would attach to the N64 controller and vibrate every time something happened; it was the first of its kind, and rumble would later become the standard for all controllers going forward.
       But the Rumble Pak isn’t the reason I put Star Fox 64 on this list. No what puts the game on this list is the fact that besides being a blast to play, it also has a surprising amount of depth. Yeah, at its core it’s still a scrolling shooter (albeit in 3D), but Star Fox 64 handles the core gameplay in a way so that it doesn’t feel boring by either having different mission objectives that go beyond the usual “take out the boss” or using different vehicles in certain missions like the Landaster (a hovering tank) or the Blue Marine (a sub with infinite torpedoes). One mission for example tasks you with taking out a certain number of enemies in a massive space battle that wouldn’t feel out of place in Star Wars, while another requires you to shoot out search lights so you can fly into an enemy base without detection, and another mission even has you defend your personal ship, the Great Fox, from a barrage of missiles; my personal favorites are a mission that recreates the final battle from the movie Independence Day (complete with a giant UFO), and a mission where you pilot the aforementioned Landmaster to take out a supply train. The best part is that you can pick and choose which missions you play and in what order you do them; yeah you always start off at Corneria and end at Venom, but the missions in between are completely up to you, with you ultimately getting one of two endings depending on how well you played and what your final route is.
        I guess if there’s one complaint against Star Fox 64, it’s the fact that it’s a pretty short game. Even on the harder difficulties, you can beat the game in an afternoon if you know what you’re doing, especially if you decide to take the easy route. But while I know for some people that might be a problem (and I don’t blame you if you feel that way), for me personally, I don’t mind the length of a game as long as it accomplishes what the developers intended, and with Star Fox 64 I feel that they did. The game feels like eating a well-cooked filet mignon meal at a five star restaurant; it’s well made and goes above and beyond what you would expect, and while it’s over sooner than you like, the experience stays with you for years to come. Of course, the difference between eating a steak at a nice restaurant and Star Fox 64 is that during your meal, a random waiter doesn’t yell in your ear and tell you to take care of the guy behind him.

6. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest (Super Nintendo)
     While we can argue until the end of time on whether or not games should get yearly releases and sequels, I think we can all agree on what makes a good sequel….good. First, it has to iron out the kinks and rough patches that the original had. Second, it should build on the foundation of the first game and improve the ideas that worked, while at the same time adding some new ideas of its own. Finally, the sequel in question has to actually be a good game, in case that wasn’t obvious. With these requirements and through the power of science, I can safely conclude that not only is Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest a good sequel, it’s also an excellent game and one of the best platformers for the Super Nintendo. And that’s saying a lot, considering this is also the console that gave us Super Mario World and Megaman X.
     If I could describe Diddy’s Kong Quest in one word, it would be more. There’s more diversity in the enemies and bosses (this time most of the enemies are pirates), ranging from small enemies like rats bugs and pirate grunts, to big club wielding brutes, giants crows, ghosts, and even a possessed sword. The levels and areas that you explore are more diverse and varied, ranging from a pirate ship, a swamp, even an amusement park and a creepy castle (again with a pirate theme). Diddy and (at the time) newcomer Dixie are much more agile and even have more moves this time around, including Dixie’s helicopter hair (which lets the duo slowly float across gaps or down winding paths), and a team throw where one of the Kongs throws the other one up to reach higher places; heck even the bonus levels from the previous game have got an upgrade, this time falling under one of three categories that go beyond the original’s mostly guessing game bonus rooms. Of course, more doesn’t always mean better and wouldn’t mean a hill of bananas if the core gameplay was up to snuff; thankfully, the game feels just as fast and fluid as the original game was, and then some.
  Of course, no mention of Donkey Kong Country 2 would be complete without mentioning its amazing soundtrack. I’m not kidding when I say this is one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard in a video game. Every song from this game is catchy and fits the atmosphere of each level, ranging from mischievous like Disco Train (the music heard in the rollercoaster levels) to spooky and intimidating like Forest Interlude and Krook’s March (the music heard in the forest stages and castle stages respectively), and even strangely calming with Stickerbrush Symphony, the music that plays during the Bramble levels of the game, which are some of the toughest levels in the game. It’s clear that David Wise put a lot of effort into the soundtrack (ironically, he’s said in interviews that he doesn’t like the soundtrack and thinks it’s “too gamey”); in fact, I would say that about everyone at Rare who worked on Diddy’s Kong Quest. The game is polished to a pristine shine, and stands as a shining example of good game design; and while Rare and Nintendo have long since parted ways, this game is without a doubt one of the studio’s finest.

     So that's part one of the best Nintendo games ever made. I was originally going to do the full list all in one go, but due to both my busy schedule and the fact that I tend to write a lot (the Word document for this list is almost at six pages with just these five games), I decided to split it up into two lists to make it easier for you guys read, and me to do. I promise part two will be up sooner rather than later, though things can change. In any case, thanks for reading, and let me know if you agree, disagree or think something needs to be changed with the list. If a certain game wasn't on this list, it's either higher up or it's not on here at all, so keep that in mind.

      I will be nice though and leave you with a list of games that were considered but ultimately didn't make the cut. I love Nintendo and their games, but narrowing it down to ten games was pretty tough. Good night and good luck.

Runner-ups
11.Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
12.Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)
13.F-Zero GX (Gamecube)
14.Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (Gamecube)
15.Punch-Out!! (Wii)
16.Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story (Nintendo DS)
17.Tetris Attack (Super Nintendo, Game Boy)
18.Kid Icarus: Uprising (Nintendo 3DS)
19.Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (Super Nintendo, Game Boy Advance)
20.Wario Land 4 (Game Boy Advance)









† ††Ah yes†Mario Kart, one of the few franchises that invoke feelings of joy and anger; sometimes at the same time. Since its debut on the Super Nintendo in 1992, the Mario Kart series has graced almost every Nintendo console (there was supposedly one planned for the ill-fated Virtual Boy), selling 97.42 million units as of March 2012, won numerous awards over the years, and has become one of the flagship franchises for whatever new home console or handheld Nintendo releases. Itís a series beloved by many people, myself included (in case it wasnít obvious). I first got into the series with†Super Mario Kart, and with the exception of†Mario Kart 7, Iíve played every game in the series (even the arcade ones!), some of them to one-hundred percent completion. Over the years however, the series had been criticized on a wide range of issues, from its constant rubber banding, to its unbalanced items (specifically the Blue Shell).†

† † While these are valid complaints, I still love the series and its many, many, MANY flaws, and itís without a doubt one of the best multiplayer experiences you can have on a Nintendo system, if not of all time. At the end of the week, Nintendo is going to release†Mario Kart 8, and so to celebrate the eighth console release of the series, I decided to countdown the five best and the five worse courses in the series. Before I start this however, let me go over a couple ground rules: 1) one course per game (otherwise my best list would be dominated by†64†&†Double Dash), and 2) no Battle Mode maps. Oh, and these picks are based on my personal tastes and opinions, shouldnít be taken as fact, etc. And with all that out of the way, letís start our engines.

BEST

5. Koopa Beach 1 (Super Mario Kart)



† † Despite being the first game in the series and setting the ground work for future games going forward, most of†Super Mario Kartís†courses leave a lot to be desired. Theyíre not terrible mind you; itís just that outside of Rainbow Road, there really isnít much to set the courses apart from each other besides the number at the end. This makes it all the weirder that one of my favorite courses from that game is Koopa Beach 1, a course that doesnít have anything that makes it stand out that much, other than bunch of easily avoidable grass patch near the finish line. And yet when I was a kid, I played this course so much as a kid (mostly in Time Trial). What was it that I loved so much? Was it the simplicity of its design, the shortcut that wasnít really a shortcut its chill theme song, or maybe it could it be chalked up as me being a stupid 7-year old who didnít know better? Iíll never quite know the answer, but whatever it was that I liked about must have been important, because here I am, a stupid 25-year old who doesnít know better, talking about it and putting it on my list.

4. Bowserís Castle 3 (Mario Kart: Super Circuit)



† † † Bowserís Castle 3 from†Mario Kart: Super Circuit†isnít the most popular course based around the Koopa Kingís castle. Hell, the game as a whole doesnít get as much love as I think it deserves, but thatís a discussion for another day. I will say this about Bowserís Castle 3 though; it is one of the first courses that I remember getting really excited to play without knowing anything about it. From the moment I saw the foreboding icon on the course select screen that showed a surprisingly scary looking Bowser in front of a thunder laced night sky, I knew I had to check it out. And oh man what a course it was! Taking place what appears to be outside on the top of Bowserís Castle with some foreboding storm clouds in the background, this course has everything that one associates with a course based on Bowserís Castle: Thwomps that crush you if arenít careful, sudden sharp turns, and of course, lava; lots of lava. Add to the fact the course itself is a decent size to race on, and you have one of the few Mario Kart courses that is both fun to play and looks cool at the same time.

3. Waluigi Pinball (Mario Kart DS)



† † To say that Waluigi is the Poochie of the Mario universe would be an insult to Poochie. I mean seriously, Wario works because a capital ĎWí is just an upside ĎMí, but with Waluigi all Nintendo did was just put an ĎWaí in front of Luigi and called it a day; thatís just stupid (and yes Iím aware of the fact that Waluigiís name is based off the word Warui, which is the Japanese word for bad, but that doesnít make it any less stupid). However, I like to think of myself as someone who looks for the positive in all things negative, so as much as I hate Waluigi, Iíll give him credit where itís due: he has one of the best courses in†Mario Kart DS. Waluigi Pinball is literally what it sounds like; a course that takes place on a giant Pinball Table with Waluigiís ugly mug all over the place. Itís simple in its design and itís not very long, but you know what? It all works in the courseís favor, as you start the race by being shot onto the table like a pinball and before long, youíre dodging giant black metallic pinballs, bumpers, and electric flippers as you race your way down the bottom to do it all again. Of course, Iíd be remiss if I didnít mention the awesome sound design, with music and sound effects that do an excellent job in convincing you that youíre racing on a pinball table; seriously, look up the music for Waluigi Pinball; itís absolutely amazing and is easily on of my favorite music tracks in the entire series. So yeah, I may hate Waluigi as a character, but he has one of the finest courses in†Mario Kart†history.

2. †Baby Park (Mario Kart: Double Dash!)



† † Have you ever played a†Mario Kart†and said to yourself ďman this is fun, but I wish there was some sort of Final Destination-like course to prove that Iím the best Kart playerĒ? If you answered yes, then Baby Park is the course for you. Much like Koopa Beach, this was a course that I played a lot whenever I popped in†Double Dash, and for good reason. Basically a simple oval loop in the center of a Yoshi-centric amusement park, what Baby Park lacks in size (itís the shortest courses in the series to date) or stage hazards, it makes up for in its raw competitive design, with each race consisting of seven laps (five in the DS version) instead of the measly three. And boy what an insane seven laps they are; since there are no major obstacles like hills or winding paths, items like Green Shells and Banana Peels can pose as much of a threat to a first place driver as a Blue Shell or a Lightning bolt. Not only that, but when racing on this course with the speed jacked up to 100cc and above, things get even crazier, with characters able to pick up items a bit faster, and itís even possibly to overlap some players. At the end of the day, donít let name Baby Park mislead you. This is a course that separates the pleebs from the pros, a course that causes men to curse like sailors and cry like children. On the harder difficulties, Baby Park will spit you out and break you; and youíll have fun while it does.

1. Rainbow Road (Mario Kart 64)



† † Rainbow Road is usually the last course that players race on, and while they come in all shapes and sizes, the one that appeared in Mario Kart 64 is the one that stands out the most in my mind. I know that there are some hardcore Mario Kart players reading this right now that are probably flipping out right now. ďGoofĒ, I hear them say, ďwhy do you like N64 Rainbow Road? Itís one of the longest, dullest courses in the series!Ē While I do agree with it being long (seriously, itís the longest course in the series history), the idea of it being dull couldnít be further from the truth. The N64 Rainbow Road is a bright, colorful course with multiple hills, plenty of winding paths to powerslide, and constellations in the sky of the (at the time) eight racers, as well as a couple based on a Boo and a Mushrooms. In addition, the Chain Chomps that appear to attack unsuspecting players spice things up in way that doesnít feel cheap (unlike the Thwomps on the SNES version of Rainbow Road), and while some people may bemoan the course for having railings, I for one was always happy with them being there, since it meant that victories were based on skill and not by who could be pushed off the course the most (looking at you Mario Kart Wii). And of course, no discussion of MK 64 Rainbow Road would be complete without mentioning the truly amazing song that accompanies it; which is nothing short of amazing, although I prefer the F-Zero remix. In fact, amazing is the word I use to describe the entire course; it embodies everything that a Mario Kart course should be; itís fun, challenging, and an absolute blast to play. And with its return to Mario Kart 8, Iíll be playing this course constantly; even if it has been relegated to one giant lap this time.



† † So yeah, those were my favorite Mario Kart courses, but I know why youíre all really here. So without further ado, here are what I think are the worse courses in the series:



WORST

5. Desert Hills (Mario Kart DS)



† † When Iím writing up what I think about these courses, I try to the best of my ability describe why I love these courses, either because they were well designed, looked good, etc. And I imagine, that for my worst section, I can hopefully explain to you why I hated these courses. However, for the life of me, I canít really tell you why I hate Desert Hill from†Mario Kart DS†so much. Ever since I first played it, I just had an irrational hatred of this course. Maybe itís the fact that the course winds a bit at the beginning, or maybe I never liked the hazards on this course (Pokeys and that asshole sun from†Super Mario Bros. 3). Maybe it was because it was easier on the higher cups for me to go from first place to last place with no hope of recovering; or maybe it was all of the above, though the problem with that is that other courses are like that too, and even they donít frustrate me as much as Desert Hill does. Hell, my beloved Rainbow Road and Baby Park are guilty of this. I know that this sounds like a copout, but for the life of me I canít figure out why I hate this course. My personal vendetta against this course is why itís even on this list, but itís also the reason it isnít any higher.

4. Rainbow Road (Mario Kart: Super Circuit)



† † As much as I loved the†MK 64†version of Rainbow Road, that love has unfortunately not translated to later iterations in the series. The Rainbow Road in†Mario Kart: Super Circuit†is one of those courses. While it definitely looks and sound nice (the Paper Mario version of Bowser's Castle is pretty cool), the course itself is really poorly designed. While the sudden sharp turns and humps on the sides of the road that can send players flying off the course are annoying, itís the two jumps at the end of the course that really put it on this list. While the first jump is somewhat manageable (albeit a little cramped), itís the second one that always annoyed me. I lost count the number of times I overshot that second jump, causing me to fall of the course and most likely costing me the race, usually on the last lap. Now I know some of you are going to read this and say I probably suck, and to those people I say yeah, I really do. But thatís no excuse for a course this messed up and chaotic; to make matters worse, Super Circuit also has every course from the original game packed in, including the original Rainbow Road. And when a course from a racing game that came out in 1992 is better than one from a game that came out nine years later, something isnít right.

3. Choco Island 2 (Super Mario Kart)



† † As I was coming up with this list, thinking of what course I would talk about, I had four courses in mind from†Super Mario Kart: Donut Plains 3(for the broken bridge at the beginning), Vanilla Lake 1 & 2 (because ice levels in general can burn in hell), and Choco Island 2 (for that mud patch near the end of the race). It was a close call, but ultimately, I chose Choco Island 2. Why? Because like those courses I mentioned, this course has appeared in future entries in the series, specifically†Super Circuit†&†DS. However, unlike those courses, Choco Island 2ís design hasnít changed at all; it has the same winding path at the beginning, the same ill-placed ramps, and most importantly, the same mudslick toward the end of the course that turns the race into a war of attrition. I know that I sound like a broken record by constantly bringing up the mudslick, but itís the reason this course is even here on the list. It makes races on the course challenging, and not in a good way, punishing players who decide to pick a racer that isnít a medium weight class, which at the time was only Mario and Luigi. As I said earlier, most of the courses in Super Mario Kart are at best, dull and unforgettable; at worst, theyíre Choco Island 2.

2. Warioís Gold Mine (Mario Kart Wii)



† † I didnít like†Mario Kart Wii. While it built upon the online mode introduced in†Mario Kart DS, added some really cool Mario characters to the roster (Rosalina!), and introduced bikes and tricks, the cheap A.I. and lackluster courses really weighed the game down for me. Most of the courses in this game are bad, but none of them are Warioís Gold Mine bad. Warioís Gold Mine looks and feels like a course that was put together by the dev team at three in the morning because they needed to meet a quota. I can somewhat forgive the winding paths and lack of railings throughout the course, and while annoying, the mine carts and bats arenít enough to make me hate this course, though they certainly donít help. No, what puts this course near the top of my worst list are the half-pipes the course employs, both at the beginning and then end of the course. Theyíre both so out of the way and redundant, that any benefit you get for using them is instantly negated by the fact that three or four racers have passed you by; hell with one of them, itís very easy to land wrong and fall of the course(believe me, this has happened to me before)! I get what they were trying to do with this course, but itís a bunch of minor annoyances that add ultimately add it up to one enormous headache. Itís so bad, that whenever I played the Flower Cup in†Mario Kart Wii, I would make sure I get first place in the three previous races, since I knew there was no way in hell I was going to do well on this course. I actually like Wario, heís an interesting character, and heís had some pretty awesome courses named after him; Warioís Gold Mine isnít one of them.

1. Toadís Turnpike (Mario Kart 64)



† † I hate this course so much. Iím honestly tempted just to write ďfuck Toadís TurnpikeĒ repeatedly and just leave it at that, but I like to think Iím better than that, so Iíll put my nostalgic anger aside for a bit and explain as best I can my hatred for this course while keeping the swearing to a minimum (though I canít make any promises). You know how I said Warioís Gold Mine was made up of a bunch of minor annoyances to make things frustrating? Toadís Turnpike is much worse than that, with problems running the gambit from poorly placed item boxes that force you on the left side of the course at all times (right in Mirror Mode) if you want a chance to pick up an item, to cars and trucks that block your way on key parts of the course, forcing you to try and navigate small cramped pathways to avoid getting hit by said cars and trucks, which is made even more difficult by the fact that their speed is determined by what engine class you pick (so in 50 cc theyíre super slow, but crank it up to 150 cc and suddenly itís Fast & Furious), as well as avoid the traditional†Mario Kart†shenanigans like Shells, Banana Peels, and whichever jerks that got the Star and Thunderbolt. Want to know the best (worst) part of this course? In Mirror Mode, youíre going AGAINST traffic, because the developers decided that bobbing in and out of traffic wasnít difficult enough. Now before anyone gets the wrong idea, I have beaten this course before, but whenever I did I never felt a sense of accomplishment; I felt tired and drained. But more importantly I never had fun when I played this course, which is the number one goal for any Mario Kart course. This course was my personal Water Temple, a low point of whatís otherwise an excellent game that still haunts me to this day. So yeah, in other words, fuck Toadís Turnpike.



† † So yeah, those were the†Mario Kart†courses that I thought were the best and the worst. What do you guys think? Do you agree, disagree with my choices? Maybe youíre upset that I didnít include Kalimari Desert (a.k.a. that course from†64†with the train)? Regardless, if you read all the way through, youíre awesome, and I hope to see you beautiful people online when†Mario Kart 8†comes out this Friday.








Hi everybody, I'm Destructoid user GoofierBrute. You may know me as that one unfunny guy on the front page. You know that one guy, with the hair? Yeah, that's me. Anyway, I've been trying to get into writing regularly on here, since that was what initially brought me to Dtoid (more on that later) way back in the late 2000s. Andy recently posted a post on the front page asking Dtoiders to tell the community 10 things about themselves, so killing two birds with one stone, here are 10 things you didn't know about me.†

1. I'm currently working on a game.
So yeah, I'm working on a game with some friends I first met on Dtoid's TF2 server (yeah we have one of those in case you didn't know). It's a 2D platformer about a fish that one day grows appendages. We don't have much other than some truly amazing art by our artist and bits of a level, but once we have something more solid, I'll post something here to promote (pinky promise). As for what my role is, I'm one of the two programmers on the project. Speaking of programming....



2. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Software Development.
I mentioned this briefly in an earlier post about†The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but to those who don't know, I currently hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Game Software Development. Which is just a fancy way of say I'm a programmer of video games. I always loved video games when I was a kid and knew I wanted to make them when I got older, but since I couldn't draw to save my life, the only other option was programming (which is funny since I sucked at Math when I was a kid, and Math is a necessity if you want to program). It's challenging at times, and isn't for those who are impatient, but I don't think there's anything else that I would rather do. Outside of working on that game (which I'm doing out of a labor of love), I'm currently unemployed at the moment, so if you have need of a programmer or web designer (I do both), hit me up.†

3. I use to play water polo and do swimming in high school.
In high school, I was a lot thinner than I am now, and that was due in part to the fact that for three years I played Water Polo and did swimming for my high school. For those of you who don't know what Water Polo is, it's like Rugby, but in a pool and a slightly more violent. At my high school, we were often consider the "gay" sport due to the fact that guys had to wear Speedos, but man were we tough as nails, both inside and outside the pool (seriously, most of teammates were what we call in the business "fucking metal"). While water polo did a lot to get me in shape and somewhat build my confidence, it was swimming that I loved more. I was clearly in the minority, but I just loved swimming because victory or defeat was based on how well I did individually (outside of relays obviously), and I even got most improved junior varsity player my first year, and a Letterman jacket my other two years. Granted, it wasn't perfect (the coaches were dicks, politics played a big role in who moved up to varsity, and most of the players were Prima Donnas), but outside of starting my freshman year instead of my sophomore year, I wouldn't change a thing about my time there.

4. I honestly don't remember when I first joined Destructoid.
Okay that's not entirely true. I do remember joining sometime in the late 2000s, but other than that I'm drawing a blank. I do know that Nick Chester was Editor-In-Chief at the time, and that I commented on how ass†Final Fantasy XII†was, but other than I got nothing. But at the end of the day it doesn't matter, because in the four-fiveish years I've been here, Dtoid has become my second family. *cue generic 90s sitcom cheesy AW sound*



5. I used to frequently visit 4chan.
Wait, put down your torches and pitchforks for a second and hear me out. Now, I know 4chan and its user tend to have a reputation for being....unsavory sorts, but that's mostly because everyone assumes the entire site is like /b/, which is 4chan's most popular board, which is entirely untrue, but I digress. During my time at 4chan, I'd mainly visit the /v/, otherwise known as the Video Game board. Thanks to that board (and /a/), I got involved in some pretty interesting discussions, had a few laughs at someone's expense, and got some pretty awesome pictures. Hell, /v/ was how I first heard of Destructoid, after someone there linked an interesting c-blog about Earthbound. I agree that 4chan kind of sucks, and rarely visit them, but it's thanks to them that I'm here typing this, so blame them.

6. My first non-Nintendo console was a Xbox 360.
So I make no secret of the fact that I'm a huge Nintendo fan. Hell, three of my favorite games of all time are from the big N. And so when the Wii came out, I got it as soon as I could. What I quickly realized was that there were going to be a lot of games that my Wii wouldn't handle, and since my laptop and PC were both ass, I knew I needed something to play the games my Wii couldn't handle. In Christmas in 2007, my dad asked if I wanted a PS3 or 360; at the time, the 360 was killing it, so that's what I went with. While my 360 introduced me to some great games (including one of my favorite JRPGs of all time†Tales of Vesperia), I ultimately regretted getting it. A lot of the games I got could be played on my better PC and laptop, the fact that I had to pay for online sucked, and I had one of the older white models, which meant red ringing(though to be fair, my only red ringed once, and that was three years after I got it). Overall, I liked my 360, but if I had a do over, I'd probably get the PS3 instead.

7. Many of my favorite games of all time I didn't play until I was older.
Earthbound,†The Legend of Zelda:†A Link To the Past, Super Metroid,†&†Final Fantasy VI†are some of the best games the SNES has to offer, and are some of my favorite games of all time. The problem is that I didn't play these games until they were at least a decade old. You see, even though I owned a SNES as a kid, I mostly played games like†Super Mario World†and†Donkey Kong Country(which are both excellent games, by the way). It wasn't until much later when I got a SNES emulator when I finally played these games and saw what the big deal was, and I loved them. Most people ask me if I reget playing these games sooner, and honestly I don't. As a kid, there was no way in hell I would have appreciated these games for what they were; hell the only reason I got†Ocarina of Time†was because my parents were tricked into thinking it was like Mario. Now that I'm older, I can appreciate these games subtle nuances in which the gameplay and the story complement each other. Plus if I get stuck, I can always use GameFaqs.



8. Queen is my favorite band of all time.
I wish there was more that I could say, but yeah I love Queen. Their songs are amazing, and I always stop what I'm doing to listen them on the radio or when they show up on my music player. Hell, when my friends and I did karaoke, I would always look for the Queen songs and would rock out to them. So yeah, Queen is awesome. What more is there to say?

9. I used to work at Walmart.
Well, technically I was a third party vendor working for Sony to get people to buy PS3s and Moves, but I was assigned to work in a Walmart. Where most of the people didn't speak English. And it was during Christmas. And at one point a guy in a yellow raincoat talked to me about the Most Interesting Man in The World getting anal probed. You ever have a job that you absolutely hate, but you only do it for the money? That was my Wal-Mart job. Never again.

10. I was†diagnosed with ADD as a kid.
Ending this on a somewhat serious note, when I was a kid, I was diagnosed as having ADD. As a kid, I was already ostracized for liking video games, so having to take pills everyday to make sure I could focus didn't help things. Still, I was able to overcome it, and while I still have trouble focusing sometimes, I feel that I'm ab-SQUIRREL!

So yeah, those are 10 things you didn't know about me. I probably should have done this sooner, but oh well. Better late than never right? If you made through all of this, you're awesome. I don't really have much else to say, so here's a picture of a gentleman cat:



Good night, and good luck.









Whenever thereís a discussion on the greatest games of all time, it safe to assume that The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is going to be brought up at some point. And why shouldnít it be?† It revolutionized the Zelda series by introducing the ability to lock onto targets and having context sensitive button prompts, becoming the gold standard for action adventure games for years to come. †It sold 7.6 million copies in its lifetime (not counting the numerous ports and the 3DS remake), won numerous awards, and was even named the ďhighest rated game ever reviewedĒ in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2008 and 2010; in other words, people really love Ocarina of Time. Iím one of those people (in case it wasnít painfully obvious); itís easily in my top ten favorite games of all time, alongside other instant classics like the original Super Mario Galaxy & Half-Life 2. But my love for the N64 classic is a bit different from most people. Donít get me wrong; I loved everything about the game, but for me Ocarina of Time was more than just a really good game. It came out at time when I was still young and relatively new to gaming, and as I got older, it became my go to game when I was feeling down (which happened a lot in grade school and junior high), keeping me both sane and helping to realize what I wanted to do with my life.

I suppose I should start from the beginning. Even though my first console was a Super Nintendo, it wasnít until I got my Nintendo 64 that I really started to get into video games. I got my N64 in the summer of 1997, as a present from my parents for doing really good on my report card, with a copy of the classic Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart 64. Eventually, other games would begin filling up my library, such as Diddy Kong Racing, Yoshiís Story, Tetrisphere(which had an awesome soundtrack), Banjo-Kazooie, and Star Fox 64 (and I only got that last one because I kept annoying my parents with the video that I got from Nintendo Power promoting the game).† You may have noticed that outside of Star Fox 64, the games I first owned for the N64 were either platformers or games that were mostly aimed at a younger audience (I hesitate to use the word ďkiddieĒ), and thatís because my parents were worried about me playing games that werenít age appropriate. But that all changed in the winter of 1998, when my parents got me two games that would change my life forever: Pokemon Blue(which is a story for another day), and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.



Of the two games, it was actually Ocarina that I was the least familiar with. While Pokemon was quickly becoming a cultural phenomenon at the time, I knew absolutely nothing about this game with the sword and shield on its box; and I found out later that only reason my parents got me the game in the first place was because the sales guy at the store convinced them that it was just like the Mario games I loved so much. No sooner after booting up the game, starting a new file named after myself (in all caps because I was weird like that), and watched the opening cutscene did I starting asking questions. Who was that girl fleeing on horseback? Who was the boy in the green tunic; is that who Iím going to play as? Why wonít this fairy shut up? Whatís up with that tree? Why canít I jump? Why do I have a sword? Why canít I control the camera like in Super Mario 64? Why wonít this fairy shut up? What the hell is Z-Targeting? OH MY GOD WHY WONíT THIS FAIRY SHUT UP? One thing was clear though; this was nothing like any game that I had played before.

After a bit of trial and error (and by trial and error I mean I died a lot, stopped playing, and asking my neighbor what to do in the first dungeon), I eventually figured out what to do and what not to do, and before long my initial confusion and frustration turned into joy and excitement. I still remember how sad I first felt when despite my best efforts, the Great Deku Tree still died, or how my jaw dropped when I first entered Hyrule Field. I remember my heart racing as I snuck through Hyrule Castle to meet the elusive Princess Zelda in a stealth segment that wouldnít feel out of place in Metal Gear Solid. I remember laughing at the serious head of the Goron tribe Darunia dancing like an idiot after playing Sariaís Song, and being confused at Princess Rutoís romantic advances before giving me the last Spirtual Stone. And when I first encountered Ganondorf after collecting all three Spiritual Stones, I knew that he was different than any villain I had seen in previous games. He had bigger ambitions than kidnapping a princess; he wanted to take over the world, and would do anything he could to achieve that goal, and when he successfully took over Hyrule in the second part of the game, I was determined to do everything in my power to restore the beautiful land of Hyrule that he ruined (even if it meant going through that damn Water Temple). Ocarina showed me that games could not only be fun, but have deep and engrossing stories with interesting characters and worlds to explore, and it was during these early playthroughs that I told myself these were the kind of games I wanted to make when I was older. I played it almost non-stop during that Christmas break, but when school started up again, it would take on a much more important role in my life.



You see, school kind of sucked for me as a kid. Right before I entered the second grade, my parents enrolled me and my sister into a K-8 Catholic School (since they felt that it would help us get a better education), and I would stay there until I graduated the 8[sup]th[/sup] grade. I hated most (if not all) of my time there. Most of my classmates made fun of me because of my weight and my love of video games and all things nerdy, and would even spread rumors about me as the years went on, causing quite a few of the younger kids to be afraid of me. I didnít have many friends, and the few I did have I would often drive away because of my increasingly hostile attitude (Iíll be the first to admit that I wasnít an easy kid to get along with). Teachers would move or reassign students so as to not have them cause me trouble, which very rarely worked. Hell, one of the few happy moments of my time there was when I was elected Student Council President, only to find out later that many of my classmates voted for me because they either A)felt sorry for me, B) wanted me to fail, or C) didnít like my opponent. †Add to the fact that my parents would always argue about me whenever I came home crying from school (which was a lot), and you can imagine that things werenít exactly pleasant for me in my younger days. It was during this time that Ocarina of Time began to take on more significant role in my life, and it became more than just a game. It was my escape from a life that I wanted to run away; I guess you could call it my safety blanket. In Ocarina of Time, I was the one riding around Hyrule on Epona. I was the one wielding the Master Sword. I was strong and brave, things that I felt I wasnít in the real world. In the game, I was somebody; I was the Hero of Time. And in those dark times, it was the one thing that kept me (somewhat) sane.

So far, this year hasnít been one of my better ones. Some personal stuff has hit me and my family pretty hard, my job prospects arenít going as well as I had hoped, and Iím turning twenty five years old this year, resulting in me questioning some of my life choices up to this point. Why am I telling you this, and what does it have to do with Ocarina of Time? Because of all the things that Ocarina of Time did for me when I was younger, the single most important thing that game did for me was this: it taught me that things are going to get better. They will always get better, no matter how dark they seem. And much like I made it through the Water Temple, I made it through grade school and junior high. I made it through high school (which didnít suck as much as grade school and junior high, but still sucked). I made it through college and got my degree in Software Development (Major in Game Development). I can and will make it through this rough patch in my life as well. Games will come and go; what was considered classic years ago might be considered outdated now.† But for me, Ocarina of Time will always hold a special place in my heart for providing me a safe haven whenever things were at its darkest, and for inspiring me to follow my dream of becoming a world famous video game developer someday, nor should I ever give up on that dream, no matter how hard things got. Well that, and the fact that the game was also really good.
Photo Photo Photo








Despite JRPGs being a dime a dozen on handhelds, there's been a lot of buzz surrounding†Bravely Default. After releasing in Japan in 2012, many gamers in the West petitoned Square-Enix to localize it. Despite some weird tweets on Bravely Default's Twitter page and some unconfirmed reports of the game being localized at GDC last year, Square remained quite, causing many gamers to wonder if were getting the game. We finally got our answer on an April Nintendo Direct, where not only was it announced that the West was getting†Bravely Default,†but that it was being published by Nintendo themselves. Even better, the game was coming out in 2013....in Europe. The States would have to wait until February 7, 2014 to get it's 3DS JRPG fix, but thankfully Nintendo of America realized that the wait would be unbearable for some people (me), so they realized the a demo of the game on the 3DS eShop earlier today. After playing it for a few hours, I was left asking myself one question: WHY ISN'T FEBRUARY YET?

One of the first things you'll notice the minute you boot up the demo (besides the amazing music playing on the Title Screen), is that the demo takes place in a town called Ancheim and the area surrounding it, which is supposedly exclusive to the demo. The four heroes (Tiz, Agnes, Ringabel, and Edea) have come to the town to at the request of its mayor, who needs the four heroes help with some problems that the townsfolk have been experiencing. This usually involves you talking to someone in town, killing certain monsters, and then giving them a certain number of a specific item that a monster drops (though the demo does emphasize that the final game is not setup like this). As you complete certain quests, you get specific items that you can transfer over to the main game when it comes out (more on that later). Other than the quests having to be done in a specific order (you can't go onto the next one until you complete the one you're already on), I absolutely love this setup. It strikes a perfect balance between familiarizing the player with the core concepts of the game (going on quests, battling, etc.), while at the same time setting it in area that is separate from the main game, thus keeping spoilers to a minimum. The area is big and diverse enough that you can explore and grind to your hearts content without feeling constricted.



Combat follows the basic turn based gameplay of older†Final Fantasy†games, but with two interesting twists: the Brave and the Default systems. Here's how battling works: each character has a set of Brave Points(BP for short), with most actions during combat (attacking, using abilities, using items) costing a certain number of Brave Points. The Default command (which is Defense in other games) lets you give up a turn in exchange for earning an extra Brave Point. The Brave command is where things get interesting: using the Brave Points saved up in battle, you can use the Brave command to attack an enemy multiple times, heal your party multiple times, or even buff yourself up before unleashing a devastating attack. You don't necessarily need to use Brave Points to use the Brave command; you can use it even if you have zero BP, though the trade-off is you can't move for a number of turns based on how many times you attacked (for example, if you have zero BP and you Brave twice, you can't attack for two turns). Additionally, enemies can also use Brave and Default and in fact certain attacks take away or add Brave Points, adding a layer to the combat and guaranteeing that battles are never dull.

This level of depth carries over into the job system. Following the same structure as†Final Fantasy V†&†The Four Heroes of Light, each of the four characters can be assigned a job that gives them special abilities and attacks to use in battle, such as using healing magic or gaining the ability to use a jumping attack; as you level up, you gain access to certain abilities within that class, such as protecting an ally in Critical addition or the ability to survive a critical attack. In addition, you can also assign your class special abilities from other classes; for example, you can have a Knight that can use White Magic or you can have a White Mage use Black Magic. While I don't how many or what jobs the final game will start you off with, the demo gives you a wide variety of classes to use, and include the a mix of traditional classes like Mages and Knights, while including some interesting ones like Performers and Valkyries (which are basically Dragoons from†Final Fantasy†games). In addition, the demo also gives you access to each of these classes base abilities, letting you experiment with a wide variety of classes to make your ideal team.



Earlier I said that you can transfer content from the demo into the main game. Whenever you complete certain tasks or reach certain milestones during the demo, you'll get a one of seven item packs that has specific items like Potions and Antidotes, which will then be transferred to the game when it comes out next month; how that's going to happen remains to be seen. In addition, the demo has StreetPass functionality, and works the same as it will work in the final game, in that you have people come to your village and help you rebuild it, after it was destroyed in an earthquake during the course of the main game. Both the item packs can be transferred from the demo to the main game. Unfortunately, you won't be able to transfer your character's levels (or their job levels), the items you buy and earn in the demo, or any of the abilities that you learn. I wasn't expecting that, but it should be noted. Also, every bit of dialog is silent, though in the final game, it'll be mostly voiced.

So overall, should you get the demo? Honestly, it really depends on how excited you are for†Bravely Default.†If you've been on the fence of getting the game, this demo isn't going to change your mind. However, people who have been excited for the game owe it to themselves to get this. It does everything a demo is supposed to do: it gives you a basic taste of what the final game will be like, and it gets you excited for the final product. It also gives players who are going to buy the full game an excellent incentive to play through the whole demo. While good demos don't necessary mean a good final game, if†Bravely Default†is as good as it's demo, we just might have another solid RPG to add to the 3DS's already solid library. Now, if you'll excuse me, my 3DS just finished charging, and I'm going back to playing some more†Bravely Default.
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