Top 10 ports I want on Switch

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 If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a video game port is simply a game that was originally made for another system before being “ported” over to a new one.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.

I know I would buy it, but I’m also a huge fan. I mean – I did write a fan screenplay.

Soul Calibur II HD Edition

So, some time ago Namco re-released Soul Calibur II  for both Microsoft and Sony. This version was dubbed Soul Calibur II HD Online 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.

Hopes and Fears on the Nintendo Switch

By the time this is published, I’ll be attending PAX East 2017. I figured it was a good time to talk about video games. Luckily (or perhaps unluckily) Nintendo just did something pretty crazy. Let’s talk about the Switch!

Continue reading Hopes and Fears on the Nintendo Switch

What Gamergate Says about "Gamer" Culture

Gamer: “a person who plays games and especially video or computer games.”               – Merriam-Webster Dictionary

We are many of us, gamers. What began as a small minority of people thirty-forty years ago has ballooned into a large portion of the present population. Games are everywhere. Computers brought them into the home. Consoles like the Atari 2600 and the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) brought them to our TVs. Today, smartphones allow many people to carry a large game library around in their pockets. And of course, before that: there were board games. As time passed, the gaming population grew and diversified. People who were never “gamers” before suddenly found themselves glued to the screen. Basically: change.

The Nintendo Wii was the first console to explode gaming into entirely new markets.
The Nintendo Wii was the first console to explode gaming into entirely new markets.

With change comes great things. More gamers = more games. No two ways about it. The industry has exploded and now we have major publishers and casual people all making games together. Choices. Choices. Choices. New technologies, new controllers, new concepts. More gamers have greatly increased the variety of experiences to be found when gaming. Has there been a negative?

Of course: Gamergate (not to be confused with GamersGate… which is a really unfortunate name to have right now).

For those out there who don’t know, I will summarize. Indie game developer Zoe Quinn created Depression Quest, a game designed to help people struggling with depression. Following the suicide of actor Robin Williams, Quinn elected to release her game for free on the popular gaming marketplace, Steam. She charged people only “what they wanted to pay” and gave all proceeds to charity. I know, sounds like the pillar of controversy so far.

There were some who felt Quinn was using Williams’ suicide for personal gain, despite the before mentioned facts. Her largest detractor, however, came in the form of her ex-boyfriend, who alleged that Quinn had a relationship with Nathan Grayson in order to receive a favorable review for her game. Was there a relationship: yes. Did Grayson ever write a review: no. Did he write an article about Quinn: yes, months before the relationship.

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Regardless, some people felt that the ethics of video game journalism had been violated. This is not the first time such accusations have come up. Popular gaming review site Giantbomb was founded after a critic gave a bad review to a game that had wanted to receive a good one. The reviewing bias of other AAA titles, such as Grand Theft Auto IV, Call of Duty, Destiny, and others has also been called into question.

If we are to believe the most positive spin on Gamergate, it was misdirected anger after all of the other breaches in the ethics of video game journalism. Really though, even if those allegations were true: are we really getting mad at the person who designed a game that helps people with depression? A game she released for free? “What a bitch” are not the words that come to mind.

There are some who feel that games really are not a big deal and really should not be used in most areas of political and civil strife.
There are some who feel that games really are not a big deal and really should not be used in most areas of political and civil strife.

That’s the positive spin. In reality, Gamergate is nothing more that the extreme hateful reaction of a small minority in the face of change. In the weeks following the lies against Zoe Quinn, many people were targeted by Gamergate. To say there was a pattern in which people were targeted would be an understatement. Do a check right now. If you are a woman, you would have been targeted. Men: not so much.

Because receiving death threats and having information leaked is the most sensible way to make money.
Because receiving death threats and having information leaked is the most sensible way to make money.

I am not going to try to give the event a balanced spin because I do not feel it deserves one. Regardless of the state of video game journalism, Gamergate was wrong and, in some cases, illegal. People were threatened with physical violence and it even went as far as death threats. I say people but really: women were the target. Whether it was Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian (who I personally do not agree with), Felicia Day, Brianna Wu (again, notice the pattern), Crimes were committed against each of these women and that is never excusable.

Gamergate punched a black eye in the public image of gaming culture. Let me stress one more time: whoever leaked personal information, threatened to hold a shooting, made death threats: these are all serious crimes. I hope these individuals are tracked, found, arrested, and persecuted to the full extent of the law. Forget leaking nude photos, this is much more serious.

Chris Kluwe, one of the harshest critics of Gamergate, was not targeted. I could say more but please: read his words.
Chris Kluwe, one of the harshest critics of Gamergate, was not targeted. I could say more but please: read his words.

Okay, that said: Gamergate means nothing exceptional to gaming culture. It has been the actions of a few radicals, not the overwhelming majority. In the months following these unfortunate incidents, many in the industry have been very public in their condemning of Gamergate. Many gamers have also stepped forward and voiced their support of Quinn and the other victims involved.

To go back to what I wrote in the beginning: gamers are everywhere. If you have a population of at least hundreds of millions, some of them are bound to be a**holes. That’s just a fact. I do not say that to excuse the behavior, but let’s examine some other examples of large cultures reacting to certain situations.

Gay Rights

Popular opinion: whether you’re for Gay Marriage or not, most people conclude that homosexuals are human beings like everyone else. They are entitled to the same treatment of respect and courtesy, and really – being gay is (thankfully) no longer the incredible taboo it once was, in certain areas at least. Okay, here is the extreme:

Interracial Marriage

Popular opinion: sure, why should color of skin matter if two people love each other? Well, let’s ask this enlightened soul:

Immigration

Popular Opinion: Okay, very complex issue. There’s a lot of opinions out there. Safe to assume though, most people don’t think like this:

Gaming

Popular opinion: everyone is entitled to play games, they are for everyone.

Well f*ck.

There will always be idiots, in any culture. A vocal minority, composed of the worst humanity has to offer, who will spew their vile hatred at pretty much anything that offends/scares them. The good news is that: most are not championing their cause but rather speaking and acting against them. This is progress. Gaming is changing, becoming more inclusive every year. People are going to have to deal with that.

Being a “gamer” means nothing more than the fact that you play games. It is not an elite group, it is not something to be proud of or ashamed of. Men are gamers, women are gamers, children are gamers. Heck, even this lizard:

Hmmmm, actually now that I think about it, that lizard may have slept with someone to get a popular Youtube video. #Lizardgate