I have been playing a TON of Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury. 3D World was a game that I loved when it came out **checks notes** nearly EIGHT YEARS ago. I wrote about it in my obituary of the Wii U, and said that it was in my top echelon of Mario games. After playing through it again, I can cement it there a while longer.
The addition of Bowser’s Fury is a great bonus. While many are predicting this bonus game to be the future of Mario, I won’t hold my breath. It’s a fun and fantastic experiment.
If you got burned out on the more traditional Mario games from the New Super Mario Bros. series, or wasn’t one of the seven people who owned a Wii U, I’d recommend this over the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection in a heartbeat.
Mario is old enough now that I don’t know if we need to celebrate every five years, but this has been fun. The 3D All-Stars Collection was fun to play through Sunshine again, but with the 1-2 Combo of 3D World and Odyssey on Switch, I think that’s enough new* Mario to last for a bit.
*Obviously over half the Mario games on Nintendo Switch are from older systems. Maybe we’ll get super Mario Odyssey 2?
These were originally released in 2014 as paid downloads for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. I of course bought them on both platforms. This was after Pikmin 3 launched on the Wii U. I love these shorts. They were storyboarded by Miyamoto and made me really wonder why Nintendo hasn’t pursued using their characters in any form of independent animation. These are what I’d call Pixar quality both in animation quality and charm. I’m glad they published these SIX YEARS later on Youtube.
We live in an utter utopia of board and video games available to everyone today. There are plenty of niches that are filled and plenty of robust multiplayer experiences. But back in the day, we didn’t have much. The world has had Chess for centuries. Someone somewhere once thought Monopoly was a fun game12. But for the quick pick up and play social game, there was always UNO.
Some people take UNO pretty seriously. I am one of those people. I hold the official rule of ensuring that someone has to say UNO as they are playing their second to last card in the highest regard. However the basic game of UNO can be a little wanting in terms of ACTION! Society has adapted and produced a series of house rules to make the action better, yet they are inconsistent and not very well documented or endorsed. Some even misinterpret the official core ruleset and then are outraged when the official UNO Twitter account posts about it. I admire that everyone had collective Mandela Effect regarding the rules and that they were trying to add a little chocolate to the vanilla. But adding a Draw Two card to a Draw Four Wild card? It’s preposterous and doesn’t make any sense to me. But what if I told you that the makers of UNO had their own MANUFACTURER RECOMMENDED ADDITIONAL RULES? Well… they do.
I have been preaching these for years and no one has taken my word for it. And surprisingly after purchasing a fresh deck of UNO while on vacation I had discovered they were removed from the printed manual. A friend of mine did some Google-fu and found them for me. So I humbly present to you directly from Mattel’s website a PDF with the rules enclosed. There are two specific sections of note3:
These will change your world when it comes to UNO. If you “take UNO seriously” then you need to familiarize yourself with these. They are manufacturer recommended4, easy to interpret and reference, and make the game a blast. Also you might want to start by reading the base rules first anyway. But let’s be honest: UNO is all luck anyways and Disney Princess UNO is the real best version5.
2019 is shaping up to be loaded with games. Here’s what I’m looking forward to this year. Presented in no particular order.
Killer Queen Black
Samurai Gunn 2
Super Mario Maker 2
Cadence of Hyrule
Shovel Knight: King of Cards
Super Meat Boy Forever
Mortal Kombat XI
Luigi’s Mansion 3
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Untitled Goose Game
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
I’m sure there are more games. I’ve already had a couple of games surprise me this year. Most of these have release dates or are confirmed for this year. There are plenty of AAA games that are on the horizon but I’m not certain what we’re getting this year.
There’s a tipping point where hobbies can become obsessions. But I’m not there quite yet. I don’t think. I’m seeking help, okay?1 Here’s more Tetris I’ve procured recently.
Have you ever wanted Tetris on the go?2 Well I have. I’ve played Tetris on a touchscreen phone but it’s not the same without physical buttons.This thing is tiny, but the screen is top notch and it has sound. There is no hold slot, but it does have a hard drop and ghost piece functionality. This is so easy to carry around everywhere you may not want to carry a Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo Switch3. It’s so cute!
Super Famicom and Virtual Boy Tetris
After years playing Tetris on North American consoles and handhelds, I’ve wanted to dig into more obscure Tetris offerings. I used wikipedia and this video4 as a reference on what I wanted to focus on, and after I got a Super NT for Christmas, I’ve definitely wanted to play more Super Famicom games. Most of these Tetris games on the Super Famicom are in English so it makes playing them pretty easy to pick up and try.
Super Tetris 2 & 3
These games feature very smooth scrolling blocks which is unique to these games. They each feature different modes in addition to traditional Tetris. Super Tetris 3 has a mode called Familiss which is four player Tetris on the Super Nintendo5. Both offer a form of Bombliss which was known as Tetris Blast in North America. These are standard Tetris fare otherwise.
This is just the Bombliss flavor of Tetris with more of a focus on solving each stage.
Tetris Battle Gaiden
Tetris Battle Gaiden is definitely the most interesting version on this list. It’s a versus game but unlike traditional multiplayer it features a set of characters and character specific power ups that can be activated during matches. Unfortunately this game is almost entirely in Japanese, however I was able to find some resources online that explain the controls, powers, and strategies. While there is a Vs. COM mode6, I really want to play this with a human. This is one of the more unique entries in Tetris history.
Nintendo’s early foray into virtual reality didn’t go too well with the Virtual Boy. But that didn’t stop the inevitable juggernaut of Tetris from appearing in some form on the platform. There were only 22 Virtual Boy games, and Tetris made it onto the platform not once but twice. V-Tetris is a Japanese only version that plays like traditional Tetris. 3D Tetris on the other hand is a little bit different. Instead of a 2D play, it’s more of organizing blocks in 3D space7. It’s more like packing boxes rather than Tetris.
More To Come
I’m not done on my Tetris Crusade8, and I’ll have more in depth commentary about these games and more in the future.
Sometimes it’s nice to take break from some of the bigger games.1 Here’s what I’ve been playing recently.
I love when a game has this level of execution. Ape Out is a game where the player takes control of a rampaging ape trying to escape2. But this simple premise is made exceptional with its jazz album infused world with top notch sound design. I don’t want to spoil too much. Watch the first 30 seconds of the game. There aren’t many games that set out to be so unique like this and do it with style. Just play this game. This is definitely a highlight for me this year.
Just after I wrote my Tetris worshiping blog posts, Nintendo pulled me back in3 with a surprise announcement during their last Nintendo Direct. I have dismissed Battle Royale games before, but damn if it doesn’t work great for Tetris. Where Tetris Effect is chill and zen, Tetris 99 is intense and stressful. I am still trying to flex my Tetris skills with this game, and I definitely need to up my T-Spin setups. If you have a Switch, this is worth paying for Nintendo Switch Online4.
Marble It Up!
Sometimes I just want a simple premise with my games. Marble It Up! is a physics game with a marble and a goal. It’s as if a game from the mid-2000s was made today in HD. It’s in the same vein as Super Monkey Ball, etc. Simple, effective, and fun. It will be cool to see if someone speed runs this game for Games Done Quick. Recommended if you want something simple, fun, and… marble related.