My Favorite Gaming Surprises of 2017

I’m still writing about all the games I played this year but before I complete that, I thought it would be fun to write about something else. 2017 was full of games. The icing on the cake of this year was the number of gaming related surprises. Here were my favorites.

Super Mario Odyssey’s Little & Big Moments

Super Mario Odyssey was a true return to the adventure style Mario games of yore1. What made me love it was all the little touches, big moments, and set pieces in the game. Namely the New Donk City Festival and the finale after Mario defeats Bowser. If you’ve played the game, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, you need to. Jump Up, Super Star! is this year’s break out tune.

Metroid’s Back

Nintendo showed off a fancy JPEG of Metroid Prime 4 at E3 and everyone went bananas2.

What’s even more insane is Nintendo nonchalantly announced a new Metroid game in their livestream that was launching just a few months later. Metroid: Samus Returns is remake of Metroid II: The Return of Samus and I’ll post my thoughts on that game in my 2017 roundup. But the title is even more fitting; Samus has returned after a seven year hiatus.

Mega Man is BACK!

Speaking of another seven year hiatus – when Capcom announced a Mega Man 30th Anniversary livestream, most Mega Man fans didn’t get their hopes up. At most we hoped for a collection of all the Mega Man X games, or maybe the Mega Man Legacy collections on Nintendo Switch. We never imagined a new game would be announced or that it would be a continuation of the classic series with a modern art style. We got all of that. And they debuted it with this awesome history of Mega Man trailer. I am was and am so happy every time I think about this. Mega Man is back!

The SNES Classic featuring Star Fox 2

Star Fox 2 was a nearly complete game that was cancelled due to the then upcoming Nintendo 64. ROMs of this game have been floating around the Internet for years, and many of the ideas of Star Fox 2 eventually made it into future Star Fox games.

Nintendo had barely acknowledged the existence of this game for years. The existence of a SNES Classic wasn’t a surprise, as most were counting on the success of the NES Classic3 to lead to another retro console. But I remember when Nintendo announced the SNES Classic would feature Star Fox 2. I almost cried.

The announcement was accompained by this true to period promotional art.
The announcement was accompained by this true to period promotional art.

The announcement nearly fulfilled a prophecy I made regarding the next Nintendo retro console. I proclaimed for it to be an intriguing collectors item that Nintendo would release with a previously unreleased game, most likely one that was never localized. I was so close.

Bayonetta 3 Announced

I love Platinum Games. I love the Bayonetta series. I was excited to hear there was another game in development, and the other two games were coming to the Nintendo Switch as well. Bayonetta is practically a Nintendo series now.

Nintendo Taking Names

Nintendo killed it this year. A new fantastic console, a masterpiece launch title, a bevy of games, and defying expectations at large. Nintendo had two Game of the Year contenders this year between Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey.

On top of this there was a surprising amount of third party support for the Switch. We got Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, a strategy game featuring the Rabbids from the Rayman Wii era. It was surprisingly good.

At the Game Awards, Nintendo had several titles nominated, including two games for Game of the Year. Nintendo used their presence to further hype. They debuted the second piece of DLC for Breath of the Wild with an elaborate display featuring Eiji Aonuma behind the screen pulling the Master Sword from its pedestal, which lead into a trailer. At the apparent end of the trailer, the sound of a revving engine could be heard, and then the screen dissolves into a cliff with Link riding a motorcycle4 followed by the words, “Available Tonight”. There was no information about this DLC pack until this moment in time. It was magical.

Nintendo seems to be defying all types of expectations, so it makes me wonder if 2018 can keep this momentum.

2018 Has Hype Expectation

With 2017 being full of games and surprises, it makes me wonder if 2018 will be as exciting. Who knows? Maybe VR will finally take off5.


  1. Yore was the year 1996. 
  2. Donkey Kong was surprisingly composed. 
  3. You know, if you could find one, and actually play it. 
  4. Aptly named the Master Cycle Zero. This is not Link’s first appearance on a motorcycle. He was featured in Mario Kart 8 on a motorcycle called the Master Cycle. In a Miiverse post (RIP) Anouma stated he wanted to see the Master Cycle in a future Zelda game.  
  5. HA! 

My Standout Games of 2016

Games I enjoyed in 2016 in no particular order

2016 has been a good year for video games. It turns out I played more than I thought this year. I spent time in No Man’s Sky, but it didn’t make the list. It’s a pretty diverse list but here are my favorites of the year:

Super Mario Run (iOS)

We live in a different reality now, where Donald Trump is the president-elect and Nintendo is making games for non-Nintendo hardware. Super Mario Run is a great game and puts other mobile games to shame with the amount of polish this game has. (I wrote more about this in detail a bit ago.)

Videoball (PS4)

Videoball is a game I had followed for a while. It’s a single screen multiplayer game where players shoot balls into goals with triangles. It’s easy to pickup and start a game with newcomers even if they aren’t hardcore gamers. Shoot balls with triangles from your bigger triangle. It’s one of those easy to learn but hard to master games. “That sure was Videoball.”

Pokémon Go (iOS)

Pokémon Go has certainly been an experience, but is it really a game? It’s like a digital scavenger hunt everyone is playing. My fondest memory was playing it on vacation with four other grown adults. Our vacation spot was a veritable Galapagos Islands of Pokémon diversity. I am not super invested on Pokémon Go as some of my friends are/were, but I still open up the app from time to time.

DOOM (PS4)

I was pumped for a new DOOM1 since the first preview last year. When I booted up the game I found a first person shooter that threw all the “realism” (reloading, hiding behind cover, gritty story, etc.) right out the door. It is a throwback to older FPS games, but with modern sensibilities and level design. It also allows you to play the game how you want to play it. If you want story, there is one. If you want to explore, you can. Every encounter in this game is crafted and fun. If you stop moving, you’re dead. It makes for a frantic, ridiculous game that always gets my adrenaline pumping.

Overwatch (PS4)

Overwatch is probably my favorite game this year. Another FPS, but one that is so polished and fun. It doesn’t matter if you want to play this game casually or competitively, it caters to all. As of writing this there are 24 distinct characters, both in play style and personality. The game promotes teamwork through almost every design choice. Matches end with everyone’s contributions, and it completely negates kill death ratios2 in lieu of how each player contributed to the match. Every interaction with players is a positive one. It is very much like Splatoon in that aspect. Since this is a Blizzard game, there is a whole universe built around this game. Surprisingly all the information about that universe is found outside of the game through short movies and comics. The minor detail of having characters speak things to each other before a match referencing their personal histories is such a small thing that has a huge impact on the world Blizzard has built. Even if you don’t play the game, watch the short below and see the amazing world Blizzard has built.

Jackbox Party Pack 3 & Drawful 2 (PS4)

Jackbox Games continues their realization of making interactive party games that are so much fun to play. The great thing about these games is that experience of other video games is not necessary to enjoy them, which makes them very approachable for everyone. Just use your mobile device as a controller. These games always produce such laughter and are much deeper than something like Cards Against Humanity.

Forza Horizon 3 (XBone)

I love these games. It is so expansive. Driving into a sunset , or off a cliff, or racing a train, it’s got something for everyone.

Honorable Mentions

The Witness (PS4)
A fun puzzle exploration game that I’ve played with my wife. It almost feels like a modern Myst but better in almost every way. I need to finish this.

Oxenfree (XBone)
An adventure game focused on choices. It follows the story of five people on a trip to an island and then some spooky things happen. The best thing is how well the dialogue and dialogue trees flow into the game. It’s more about the journey than the destination.

Gone Home (PS4)
Another adventure game that tells an intimate story while you explore a spooky large house during a storm. There is more than meets the eye. I would recommend this to people who don’t play games often.


  1. It has to be in all CAPS, or else. 
  2. “What’s your KDR man? Headshots, boom!” 

Getting Things Done

I’ve been working hard on being productive. It ultimately comes down to just doing things. But organization and keeping track of things is incredibly important. Here are some things I do to help. I’ll also add while I’m not super productive (I can procrastinate like no other) I still feel good when I get things done.

Remember The Future

Often I think of something that I should do and immediately forget it. For example, I should text my friend to let them know I’m thinking about them, or I need to replace the air filter in the furnace. But after I have that thought it will immediately leave me as I move on to the next thing. Then ultimately I’ll remember again, then forget, and the cycle continues. It’s for this reason that I’m in love with Evernote. It’s perfect for short bursts of thought unloading. And now that Evernote has a reminder feature it’s almost priceless in the utility it brings.

I’ve heard that some have a difficult time using Evernote effectively. I think people confuse it with a service like Google Drive where you can store things and write things keep them in sync. They are similar in that aspect, but the difference lies in the amount of time you should spend in each. Evernote is for quick reference and quick jotting down ideas or tasks. I equate Google Drive for writing longer passages and more of a collaboration tool.

Nag Yourself Bro!

Another service that I use is called Remember The Milk. It’s a tasklist service that’s been around for a while. It can remind you when a task is due through mail, text, push notification, and even your calendar. Remember The Milk is good for tasks that need to be done with some sort of recurrence. It’s also good for keeping a more in-depth set of priority. RTM also ties in to almost every service imaginable like GMail, Evernote, Google Calendar, and more. The latest integration with Evernote allows me to set a reminder on Evernote and automatically show up in RTM as a task. You can do the same with GMail messages. I’ve been using RTM less lately, but I still find it useful for tasks I need to complete on a schedule.

Put It On The Calendar

Setting a date is important for me. As much as I say I’m spontaneous, I’m also forgetful. Dates can set a target to aim for, and when I meet those goals it can help me feel accomplished. When a friend suggests that we should do something together, I will almost immediately say “put it on the calendar”. Sometimes my life can go lazy to busy in moments, and before you know it I’ll forget about hanging out with friends, doing regular maintenance on the car, or other things that are just as important as big projects. When I block out time for a task or just casual time with a friend it will help other things fall together.

Go Easy On Yourself

The first thing I think a lot of people do when making a list is to write down all the big things they want to accomplish, then they take another look at it and get overwhelmed and exclaim, “NOPE!” The key is to break down big tasks into smaller ones, and to put things on list that are necessarily tasks such as watching a movie.

I’m also a big fan of the To-Done list. Occasionally I’ll complete something that wasn’t on my list at all, but I’ll write it down so it doesn’t seem as if I’m doing nothing. It can help me realize I’m being productive even though I haven’t felt like it.

 

All of these things help me get things done even if it’s something as simple as taking the trash out, but overall it also makes me feel better than a lazy slug.