Your Move

Board games. Video games. Anything but mind games. KMUW commentator Sam McConnell explores the latest (and the time-tested) world of games.

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One of my biggest disappointments this year was Mass Effect: Andromeda. Despite having a pretty OK story, it left a lot of open plot holes. It was clear these were due to be filled by planned expansions and sequels. Unfortunately, the games was so poorly received, especially compared to its predecessors, that its developer Bioware completely dropped support for the game, and canceled all future content. Now, it’s looking like the Mass Effect series might be done for good.

Animal Crossing has always been one of Nintendo’s more interesting series to me - none of the games have an end, per se. Rather, they are mostly about building and maintaining friendships and a community. Although I played a lot of the original on my Gamecube, the installment I’ve spent the most time playing has been on the 3DS - the short tasks the animals had me doing to maintain my village were perfect for a handheld console.

Today, I really wanted to be telling you about how much fun I had playing the new Star Wars game, Battlefront II. I’ve been looking forward to the game most of the year. Battlefront II, which is focused on large team multiplayer gameplay, also has a single-player campaign with a story set right after Return of the Jedi, from the point of view of an Elite Stormtrooper, and what she does during the collapse of the Empire. I really wanted to play this.

In the mid-90s, video games were just starting to make the jump from 2D to 3D. If you go back to a lot of those early 3D games, the controls were experimental and awkward - nobody really knew the best way to make 3D games work, until Nintendo came along with Super Mario 64 and literally defined how 3D platforming games should work.

Now, 20 years later, Nintendo has released Super Mario Odyssey for the Nintendo Switch - a spiritual sequel to Super Mario 64, and the most refined 3D platformer to date.

Last year, Nintendo released the NES classic- a miniature version of their first console, loaded with classic games. It was an instant hit, and sold out right away. And then...that was it. Nintendo restocked stores a few times, but those inventories were also immediately snatched up, and less than a year later, Nintendo just stopped making them.

Jon Reynolds

This commentary originally aired on April 10, 2014.  

Many people are at least sort of familiar with what Dungeons & Dragons is - a role playing game that a group of friends play together using dice and books, rather than a TV and a controller. I love playing D&D, but the games are long, and finding people that aren’t so busy that they can’t play these long campaigns for hours at a time, weeks in a row... well, that’s difficult.

Once upon a time, the creators of Halo on the Xbox decided to create a new series - this one would have a rich world, and would be online all the time so you could stumble upon battles between a group of players and the enemy at any time while patrolling around. The first game in this ambitious first-person shooter series, Destiny, came out three years ago, and fulfilled most of its promises but felt rather empty. Its sequel, Destiny 2, continues the story and fixes many problems from the first.

It’s not uncommon for video games to have the player kill robots - it's practically a trope at this point. But what is uncommon is for you to have to get the robot’s permission to kill them first - and this is the premise of the new indie game LOCALHOST.

My first console video game was Sonic the Hedgehog in 1992, and from the first moment I played, I was hooked.

sega.com

For as long as I can remember, graphics in video games have astounded me, and have been a major driver in the industry. Particularly, I remember how everyone was amazed when machines like the Nintendo 64 and Sony Playstation started making 3D games possible. When Final Fantasy VII came out on the original PlayStation in 1997, the graphics amazed me - huge enemies and vast landscapes. Looking back, though, the graphics have not aged well. Bright, textureless polygons with some really weird proportions against mostly drab backdrops.

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