So this past Friday I was finally able to play Predator: Hunting Grounds, a game I have been looking forward to for months. Created by developer IllFonic, Predator: Hunting Grounds is an asymmetric multiplayer game where four people play as human commandos and one person plays as the ultimate alien hunter, the Predator.
During gameplay, the human players will attempt to complete objectives against an AI opponent (the rebels from the first film), while the Predator wants to hunt down and kill the four player characters before they can “get to da choppa!” and exit the level.
Despite being from a different franchise, Predator: Hunting Grounds is in many ways a sequel to the Friday the 13th game, which launched several years ago and which I also had a ton of fun with. There really is no one who can blend gameplay with fan service like IllFonic, well – at least when it when it comes to 1980s cult classics.
The Nintendo Switch seems to be a hit. With just over a year under its belt, it has sold just under 20 million units – already over 6 million more than the poor Wii U ever sold in its entire lifespan. While the Switch has some impressive original software, the main drive behind its success appears to be its play potential. Gamers finally have a modern portable that feels amazing (and can double as a home console).
I own a Switch and I love it. I take it with me on the T and hook it up to my TV when I’m home. I have no doubt that Nintendo will continue to bring original quality content to their platform for the foreseeable future. So today, let’s not talk original content – let’s talk ports. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a video game port is simply a game that was originally made for another system before being “ported” over to a new one. For example – Bethesda’s DOOM originally came out for PS4, Xbox One, and PC before being released – or ported over – to the Switch.
All right, now that we have the terminology out of the way – let’s talk ports!
Child of Light
Ubisoft appears to have a weird relationship with Nintendo at the moment. Over the past two console generations, the companies have presented together as friends, but the Ubisoft library on Nintendo consoles has been…lacking. One of the first third parties to endorse the Wii U – the company quickly backtracked, cancelling a project and moving exclusives Rayman Legends and Zombiu to wider markets.
One game that the Wii U did receive was Child of Light. An indie-style 2D adventure RPG that was quaint and charming, Child of Light isn’t a classic by any stretch – but I remember enjoying my playthrough. It is a light-hearted, simple game that would feel right at home alongside many of the indie darlings already on Switch.
I feel like Ubisoft has some really low hanging fruit here when it comes to increasing their revenue on Switch. I could see this game selling really well if priced between $15 and $20.
Assassin’s Creed IV
And speaking of Ubisoft, let’s give another of their recent classics some new life. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag has already sold over 5 million units – on PS4 and Xbox One. That’s right, just the remastered editions. Clearly this is a game that fans love and are willing to double-dip for.
If we’re all honest, Assassin’s Creed seems like a series suffering from fatigue. Few intellectual properties successfully transition from generation to generation (remember Prince of Persia?) and, until they add significant gameplay adjustments or just set a game in Japan, I personally feel like the future of the franchise is less than exciting.
So why not relive the glory days? Having a pirate adventure on-the-go sounds pretty great! If Ubisoft is feeling bold, they can even throw in an Assassin’s Creed Classic Trilogy collection as well.
The Mass Effect Trilogy
Hey remember that time EA released Mass Effect 3 (and only Mass Effect 3 – minus DLC) on Wii U? Me neither. Let’s all join in not remembering that event by enjoying the full trilogy on Switch. Mass Effect is in a bad spot right now. The once A-list series suffered a less than stellar ending in Mass Effect 3 before releasing the equivalent of a Disney direct-to-DVD sequel in Mass Effect: Andromeda.
The brand needs to rebound and EA has already released a trilogy package for 360 and PS3. The Switch can handle it, and the move would remind gamers of all the fun they had with the first three games…while not talking about the 4th.
So, some time ago Namco re-released Soul Calibur II for both Microsoft and Sony. This version was dubbed Soul Calibur II HDOnline and featured both previous console exclusives Spawn and Heihachi. That’s great and all, but they missed the best exclusive.
Despite having a much small install base, Soul Calibur II for the Gamecube nearly outsold its PS2 rival. Why? One word: Link. Link fit into Soul Calibur II like Kratos fit into Mortal Kombat. Given that Nintendo is trying to bolster its presence in online gaming, getting a remastered port (with all three exclusive characters) would be a boom. Not to mention Nintendo seems to have a good relationship with Namco – working with the company on Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS.
Red Dead Redemption: Definitive Edition
Let’s be real for a second. We all know that Red Dead Redemption II will never come to the Switch. I love that little system but it is nowhere near powerful enough. So, while Nintendo owners nurse the pain of not being able to take the latest Rockstar adventure portable, why not toss them a bone from memory lane?
The first Red Dead Redemption is an amazing game. In my opinion, it is the best experience that Rockstar Studios has created so far. And, since it never got a PC port, people don’t have an easy way to play it right now.
Taking Red Dead Redemption – along with all of its amazing DLC – on-to-go sounds fantastic and a profitable fit for both Nintendo and Rockstar. With Bethesda reporting solid sales numbers from its early Switch endeavors, there appears to be a market for mature gaming on Switch. Adding the original Red Dead Redemption would go a long way to bolster said offerings.
The Monkey Island Classic Trilogy
Once upon a time, LucasArts existed. Not only that – they made games! Even more unbelievably, most of those games were gems; classics of timeless quality and appeal. With the news that one such product, Grim Fandango, is coming to the Switch, we can only hope that LucasArts’ other classic adventure game series isn’t far behind.
Playing as a pirate is fun, Guybrush Threepwood taught me that. The Monkey Island series had three stellar entries before falling off into obscurity. These share would fit in well alongside other quirky games like Night in the Woods and Golf Story. I don’t know who owns the rights to these three games – but given that two have already been remastered (and the third is available on Steam), I can’t imagine it would be too difficult to get them working on Nintendo’s newest hardware.
Fallout: New Vegas
While rumors of Fallout 3 on the Switch have existed for some time, I haven’t heard as much talk about the other, arguably better Fallout game of the 7th generation. This is likely due to Fallout: New Vegas having a more complex ownership. Developer Obsidian Entertainment partnered with Bethesda to create the post-apocalyptic romp through the wasteland, and getting both publishers to sign off on a remastered version may take some doing.
Regardless, New Vegas is a gem among modern RPG games. Bethesda has already enjoyed success with Skyrim on Switch, so bringing in its old Fallout library makes sense. If we do see Fallout 3, I can only hope that a New Vegas announcement is soon to follow.
Alpha Protocol: Remastered Edition
So far, I don’t think my list has been unique. Most of these potential ports have been discussed on other sites at some point in time. But now, here is one that I am almost certain no one else will have talked about – because most people don’t remember it…because it wasn’t super great when it first came out.
Alpha Protocol was an attempt by Obsidian Entertainment to launch its own IP – back before the days of Pillars of Eternity. It was a spy RPG in the vein of Mass Effect, where the player took on the persona of a secret agent, and every choice impacted story progression. And, in terms of story – it was fantastic! I remember playing it and being really absorbed, loving how I was always a jerk…but I could decide exactly what kind of jerk I wanted to be. To offer a modern comparison: It is like how CD Project Red handled Geralt in The Witcher 3.
The problem was the combat. Released close to Mass Effect 2, Alpha Protocol felt slightly worse than Mass Effect 1. The skill tree felt unbalanced, with certain abilities like hand-to-hand combat feeling under-powered and useless in boss fights. The resulting gameplay issues turned critics off, and the game sold less than 1 million units.
BUT – I maintain that it is still mostly a good game. One that could be fixed with less than a year of work. It might not become a classic, but Alpha Protocol could enjoy a second life on Switch. Several other games have already seen similar revivals on Nintendo’s new system, so – if I worked at Obsidian – I would at least consider it. Great stories are timeless – and Alpha Protocol had an immersive plot.
Star Wars: Rogue Leaders HD
Once upon a time, a company called Factor 5 made some great Star Wars games on Nintendo systems. If you’ve ever played Rogue Squadron or Rogue Leader, you’ve sampled their work. Then, as with many game companies, they hit bad luck and, ultimately, went bankrupt.
What makes this story worse is they had a completed game set for launch on the Wii that just didn’t happen. LucasArts was notorious for cancelling promising projects in development at the time (never forget Battlefront III) and Rogue Leaders became just another casualty.
Which is a darn shame because those old games are great and, since Disney took over the franchise, there has been a shortage of quality Star Wars video game content. How amazing would it be to throw the fans a bone by releasing an HD version of a game that was already intended to be a remaster of a classic Gamecube title? Talk about minimal work for maximum gain.
There is money to be made here – Disney just needs to move on it:
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
I’ve tried to leave Nintendo games off this list. For one thing, I firmly believe that every Wii U classic will be on the Switch at some point because, you know, money. For another, I wanted to be more creative. That said, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker remains my personal favorite Zelda game.
The treatment that Nintendo gave it for the Wii U was superb so, I simply ask – bring to the Switch man…come on. I can only put so many hundreds of hours into Breath of the the Wild. The work is done – the game looks amazing – let’s just get a move on.
And that’s it for my list. If you’ve made it this far – thanks for reading. If you were expecting something more literary from me – sorry for this offshoot but I’m a gamer as well as an author. Don’t worry, I’ll have something book-related for you soon!
A couple of honorable mentions real quick: Can we get the original two (or three) DOOM games on Switch…and where is Resident Evil 4? I thought Capcom had a quest to put that game on every system.
Dragons have fascinated humanity for millennia. No matter which part of the world you travel to, odds are the indigenous culture had at least one myth devoted to these beasts. While some may run to conspiracy, the logical explanation for widespread dragon mythology is dinosaur bones… or are dinosaurs a cover-up for dragons?!
They’re not. Dinosaurs have always existed but it’s easy to forget that we’ve only started formulating scientific study on these fossils during the last couple centuries. Before then, they were just giant bones – proof that our planet once held strange and amazing animals.
The natural mystery of the dinosaurs gave birth to arguably the greatest fantastical creation of all time. One that symbolizes our creative spirit as a species and adds an element of wonder to our collective consciousness. So, in my mind, passing on this love of dragons is essential in healthy human development.
After all, I love dragons and I consider myself a well-balanced individual (twitch).
If you’re trying to get your child to love anything then start early. I don’t mean ramming dragons in the face of your baby and screaming “like it!” – rather, maybe just choose books and films that are age appropriate. Luckily, popular culture has you covered.
In terms of movies, recent hits like Pete’s Dragon and The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader both feature friendly, nonthreatening creatures. Another obvious choice is the How to Train Your Dragon series from Dreamworks Animation.
If I may state a personal preference and a loved childhood memory, I would recommend Flight of Dragons. This light, whimsical fantasy gives dragon flight and fire a pseudo-science explanation and features a lot more elements of the genre. Talking animals? Got it. Ogres – yeah there’s one. James Earl Jones voicing the villain who turns into a giant monster – okay, we’re onto something here.
Also, it’s got this song:
Yeah, that will be in your head awhile. It’s a wonderfully meta film, choosing the author of the source book as a main character. And speaking of books, you don’t get much more famous than The Hobbit. Read that to your child and I guarantee, apart from the giant spiders, Smaug will be a highlight.
In terms of other books, really you can’t go wrong. There are so many dragon stories out there. I would also advise purchasing those giant picture books – like World of Dragons or something. They’re image focused so literacy isn’t a barrier, and the better ones feature drawings that will compel the development of a healthy imagination.
As kids age, “cool” starts to matter more. Everyone wants to be cool – gotta do the cool things to be cool. However, they’re not quite teenagers yet so, you know, parents have yet to become the exact opposite of cool. So you can still make recommendations but the best bet is just making things available for consumption.
A film like Dragonheart, while rated PG-13, is perfect for this age range. After all, you can’t get much more awesome than Sean Connery voicing a dragon. It’s a little more violent without being Game of Thrones and the sexual innuendos will likely fly over your childrens’ heads… like a dragon, get it? I’m very clever.
Notable books include easy reads like Harry Potter, stuff your child can devour and process easily, helping to fuel not just a love of dragons but a greater affection for reading in general.
Okay, now you’re not cool anymore. Being a teenager is all about being rebellious. Are they old enough to watch Game of Thrones? Doesn’t matter, they’ll likely watch it anyway. However, this desire to revolt can be capitalized on with some appropriate dragon literature.
Gork the Teenage Dragon is every story of young adult high school trauma and liberation only… you know, with dragons. We follow Gork, a young, smaller dragon who is too nice for his own good. This hurts his chances of winning a female for the mating dance (a more straight forward name for “prom”) and impressing his family.
Gork has no idea what he wants to be but he feels the enormous pressure to be great. Typical teenager stuff, just substitute the people for dragons.
The Magicians trilogy also provides dragons in more mature setting, although parents have to be comfortable exposing their child to teenage sex and drug use – if anything, it can be seen as prep for actual high school.
At this point, more scholarly works like Beowulf may also be attempted. Video games like Dragon Age also, as the name suggests, feature dragons very promptly. And I think it’s safe to assume that Skyrim will still be being released on new systems, even ten years from now.
And there you have it. Obviously there’s more to cover. I haven’t even scratched the surface of dragon pop culture.
I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject but I like to think that I still remember what it was like to be a child. Dragons are amazing creatures of power and mystery. These are qualities that I believe are attractive to children. Keep in mind, you don’t always have to go traditional.
As I mentioned in the beginning, dinosaurs are part of dragon lore and can easily expand the overall love of fire-breathing winged beasts. There’s also Godzilla, who is pretty amazing and fights other dragon-like creatures on a regular basis. I’m just saying.