Winter Blues – Why I am Setsuna is Leaving Me Cold

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Seasonal Affective Disorder typically starts “in the late fall and early winter.” It continues throughout the winter, eventually subsiding in spring to early summer.

There are many symptoms of SAD and the resulting depression, but one in particular stood out to me in regards to I am Setsuna: “losing interest in activities you once enjoyed.”

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Splatoon 2 Global Testfire First Impressions

While the Splatoon Global Testfire exists primarily as a way for Nintendo to get data and feedback on balance, server strength, etc., I had my own agenda. Outside of simply wanting to see the new stages and how the game ran on Switch, I was also excited to get a feel for the different play modes that the Switch offered.

In the video below, I played one match with the Pro Controller, motion controls on, using the ink roller. In the second match, I played with the Joy-Cons detached, Wii Remote and Nunchuck style, using the new Splat Dualies.

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Music as a Discoverable Reward in Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has proven to be a game so dense that it is many different things to different people. For many of us, BotW is a game about exploration and discovery. The game encourages exploration by doling out tiny, yet satisfying, rewards for every discovery. From Korok Seeds to shrines to materials, BotW offers plenty of incentive to venture off the beaten path.

As I continue to put hours upon hours into the game, I’m finding one of my favorite discoveries in BotW is music. Led by Animal Crossing composer Manaka Kataoka, the soundtrack here is excellent. From jazzy combat tunes to the almost Twin Peaks-esque piano piece that plays as you scale a tower, the OST is as unconventional (and high quality) as the game itself.

The music also fits with the sprawling landscape of the game’s world, as it’s used sparingly, only surfacing at specific moments. For me, finding a new place or triggering an event that has a music cue attached to it, even if it’s just a jingle, is just as exciting as discovering any riches tucked within the land of Hyrule.

As a huge fan of video game music, I will definitely be acquiring the BotW soundtrack at some point. But as for right now, I’m avoiding listening to any music from it outside of the game. At this juncture, hopping onto to YouTube and hearing a tune I hadn’t discovered yet in the game would be, for me, as big of a spoiler as <REDACTED>.

Final Thoughts – Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (3DS)

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Dragon Quest VIII has been on my mind a lot lately, and for good reason: I’ve played it in some capacity almost every day since it launched at the end of January. It’s somewhat unusual for me to play a game near-daily for over a month, but the 3DS version of DQ VIII lends itself to this for two reasons: 1) it’s a fantastic RPG and 2) it’s an incredible portable port, full of player-time-respecting tweaks.

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Ryan’s Top Five Nintendo Games of 2016

5) Gotta Protectors

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You want a reason why this game made my list? How about ten?

4) 7th Dragon III Code VFD

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I really wasn’t expecting this to be my favorite 3DS JRPG of the year, but the awesome soundtrack and accessible dungeon crawling really resonated with me!

3) Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright

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While not as ~perfect~ as Awakening, Birthright provided a solid story and, as expected, excellent SRPG gameplay. I still need to play Conquest and Revelation!

2) Pokemon Go

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Still playing it; sorry haters.

1) Sega 3D Classics Collection

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As far as the Sega 3D Classics go, this really isn’t a collection of the best of ’em. No Out Run? No Gunstar Heroes? No Streets of Rage 2? Lame! But even with that in mind, this is still my Nintendo GOTY. Why? Because M2 did such an incredible job with these ports/remakes that they elevate even the most mediocre games into something incredibly fun and playable. With a multitude of options and perfect emulation, this is the gold standard for preserving and re-releasing classic games.

Honorable Mentions (other cool games I dug this year, but didn’t make much progress in):

Pokemon Moon, Dragon Quest VII, Monster Hunter Generations, Kirby Planet Robobot