The complete history of Nintendo arcade games

A couple of days ago Nintendo streamed its latest Nintendo Direct presentation.

For many the most notable announcement was that Doom and Wolfenstein II are coming to the Switch, while the five minutes of new Super Mario Odyssey footage was a great way to wrap things up and get people talking after the Direct had ended.

For massively nerdy Nintendo historians (like me), though, the biggest news of the Direct was that Hamster Corporation – the studio currently responsible for the regular Neo-Geo games appearing on Switch and other consoles – will be bringing some of Nintendo’s old arcade games to the Switch as part of its Arcade Archives series. Continue reading “The complete history of Nintendo arcade games”

How to buy Switch eShop games from different regions

Yesterday I reviewed Kamiko, a Switch game that (at the time of writing) was only available on the Japanese eShop.

Whereas before Nintendo gamers haven’t been able to access another region’s eShop without either buying another system from that region or pulling off some extreme tomfoolery, the Switch’s region-free policy makes it much easier than you’d expect.

Despite this, a lot of Switch owners have still yet to add other eShops to their system. If that includes you, yer man Scullion is about to show you how to do it, and how to buy games from them once you do. Continue reading “How to buy Switch eShop games from different regions”

The first ever Tired Old Hack live review!

The first ever review I wrote in my career. They got better

I’d estimate that over the course of the last 11 years I’ve reviewed just short of 1000 games (thanks very much, ONM’s monthly Virtual Console and WiiWare section, for bumping that figure up).

Reviews are arguably the most important aspect of games journalism – at least in the traditional sense – because after the news announcing a game and the previews giving a taste of it, the review is the final verdict: “Now it’s finally with us, and here’s whether you should get it.”

Because of this, one of the questions I get asked most often (other than how to become a games journalist) is how to properly review a game. The answer is one you might not like, because it isn’t a catch-all solution: there’s no ‘proper’ way to review a game. Everyone does it differently and everyone has their own style.

What I can do, however, is try to help by telling you how I do it my way, and hope that by doing so you can maybe pick up some tips to use when developing your own style.

Or, rather, instead of telling you, I could show you. Continue reading “The first ever Tired Old Hack live review!”

Let’s not piss around – the Switch is a handheld

nintendoswitch_hardware-0-0Ever since the late 1980s, when the Game Boy started its global dominance, there has been an overwhelming agreement on the difference between home consoles and handhelds.

A home console is one that, as the name suggests, can be played at home: you plug it into your television, sit back and enjoy all the platform-jumping, goal-scoring, enemy-fragging shindiggery you want from the comfort of your sofa.

A handheld, meanwhile, is a console you can take on the move with you. It has its own screen and, crucially, never needs a TV. You can take it wherever you like and play games on it no matter where you are in the world.

That’s why I’m really bewildered at the way many online are comparing the Switch to other consoles (including the Wii U). Although Nintendo – for some bizarre reason I still can’t comprehend – is adamant that the Switch is a home console, that’s frankly bullshit. It’s a handheld, and anyone saying otherwise is… well, ‘wrong’ sounds harsh. Not right, basically. Continue reading “Let’s not piss around – the Switch is a handheld”

Writer’s commentary: Anatomy of a Mario Galaxy review

In my decade as a games journalist I’ve reviewed nearly 1000 games.

Most of these reviews were written during my six years at Official Nintendo Magazine (ONM), and most of these were small ones – indie titles, WiiWare and eShop games, retro Virtual Console releases and the like. But many were also multi-page reviews of triple-A titles.

One of the questions I’m most often asked is which of these reviews was my favourite. I have two.

The first is my Super Mario Galaxy review from ONM issue 23 (December 2007) and the second is my Super Mario Galaxy 2 review from ONM issue 56 (June 2010).

Another of the questions I’m asked is how to write a review. There’s no easy answer to this – indeed, there’s no answer at all. Every reviewer has a different style, so there’s no right way to do it.

What I’ve decided to do, though, is take you through my two favourite reviews and give you a little insight into how they were put together.

I’m going to take you on an annotated tour of my Super Mario Galaxy review and my Super Mario Galaxy 2 review. Continue reading “Writer’s commentary: Anatomy of a Mario Galaxy review”

Man or myth? My conflicting character creation conundrum

Games are often at their best when they give the player a hefty dollop of customisation options, and rarely is that better proven than character creation.

When a game lets you make your own character it’s making an empowering statement. It’s telling you that – even if just for one brief yet important moment – you’re in charge here. Continue reading “Man or myth? My conflicting character creation conundrum”