By: Andrew Lister
Today is a really exciting day for Nintendo fanboys! Nintendo surprised the world when it dropped a YouTube video seemingly out of nowhere that gave us our first look at their newest video game console, the Nintendo Switch. The hype comes after what many would consider a less-than-stellar performance of their last console, the Wii U. In case you somehow missed last year’s video, give it a watch below. You won’t be disappointed.
I could go on and on for hours about how excited I am for the console, but I think I’ll save a lot of that for when I finally get my hands on it in March. The goal of this article instead will be to focus on what we hope to hear from the official Nintendo presentation later today.
The System’s Cost
When the Wii U launched back in 2012, there were two different versions: the basic and deluxe set. The basic system came with an 8 GB hard drive and cost $249.99 while the deluxe, which came with a 32 GB drive and a copy of Nintendo Land, originally cost $349.99. At the time, Nintendo’s touted a lower priced system than their competitors Sony and Microsoft. Although some criticized Nintendo for putting out a machine that lacked the power of the Playstation or Xbox, the smaller price tag worked to Nintendo’s advantage.
This time around, Nintendo finds itself in a strange place. They’re releasing a new console far ahead of their competitors (unless you count the upgraded versions of the Playstation and Xbox), and the system will still not rival the specs of the Big Two. Since the PS4 and Xbox One have been out for some time now, Nintendo’s device will have to be about the same price. Rumors suggest the system may retail for around $249.99. Depending on the games, battery life of the handheld, and a few other key factors, this would be a more than reasonable price to debut the system.
The Wii U was not a powerhouse of a system. However, graphics and processing have never really been Nintendo’s focus. People don’t buy Nintendo for amazing, realistic graphics; they buy their systems for the innovative and enjoyable games. That being said, the Wii U ran a 1.24 GHz IBM Espresso CPU with 2 GB DDR3 memory and a 550 MHz AMD Radeon graphics card. When you compare this to something like the PS4, which has a 8-core AMD Jaguar with 1.6 GHz processing power and 8 GB GDDR5 RAM, you can see the difference.
Will the Nintendo Switch surpass the Playstation 4 and Xbox One? Probably not. If anything, this is a chance for Nintendo to play catch up and get on par with the other two systems. For those that get a hard-on for bigger processing numbers, this might be a turn off, but the important thing here for the Switch is to have a system that will be fun to play and get more third party support than its predecessor.
Sources have reported that the Switch will run the last-generation NVidia Maxwell processor. This means that the Switch will certainly not be the next big graphical phenomenon. However, it does mean that we will see plenty of options for third party developers that make more realistic games to showcase their products on Nintendo’s new system. Again, I don’t really need to see every fiber of hair or feather detail of my Pokemon to have an enjoyable gaming experience.
Nintendo lives and dies by its games. The Wii U suffered from a severe lack of both first and third party content. I’m not saying that there weren’t some great games for the Wii U, however. We got two really good Mario titles, Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart 8, Pikmin 3, Star Fox Zero, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, and the brand new franchise Splatoon.
As far as first party games go, we know that we’re getting the new Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which I’m more than excited to play. We also saw scenes of a brand new Mario title in the video above. Aside from those games, Nintendo has an opportunity to come out swinging with some surprising potential titles.
The last major Metroid game we got was Metroid: Other M back on the Wii. Can you imagine how in depth a new Metroid game could be on the Nintendo Switch? Splatoon 2 would be a ton of fun as well and could really build on the franchise. And what about a complete surprise revival, such as a new Kid Icarus or F-Zero game? I’d be down for a fresh take on old classics.
And since the Nintendo Switch is going to be part handheld system, what about games that were exclusive to the DS/3DS family? There have been whispers of a console Pokemon game, which would be amazing, but Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem could make for some really amazing games as well.
Above all else, Nintendo really needs to cater to and bring in third party companies. They need to aim to get at least some of the major releases that drop on the other two systems. This will ensure that more people pick up the Switch and help keep it alive longer. Sure, I’ll play old games like Skyrim on the Switch, but new games are key. Also, the ability to play many of these games on the may draw people away from Sony and Microsoft and back to Nintendo.
We already have a general idea of when the Nintendo Switch will reach store shelves. It was previously announced that Nintendo’s new console would debut in March 2017. Now that we’re in the middle of January, the big question is exactly when we’ll be able to collectively throw our money at Nintendo.
We can only hope that Nintendo has all their ducks in a row and is ready to release the Switch in early March. My only worry is that we get tonight's presentation and for some reason they move back the launch date.
Watch Tonight's Presentation
So when and where can we watch Nintendo's live broadcast about the Switch?
Well, Nintendo is streaming their broadcast live from their offices in Japan, so if you're in America, you can watch the stream on January 12th at 11 pm EST/8 pm PST. For our fans in the United Kingdom, you'll have to catch it in the wee hours of the morning at 4 am the next day.
You can watch the broadcast in one of three places:
Are you excited for the Nintendo Switch? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below or join our Discord Channel and talk in the #gaming section! I'll be back later this week with my thoughts on tonight's presentation!
By: Andrew Lister
Welcome to the next installment of a new article series, Tuesday Top Five! From time to time I'll be coming up with a Top 5 spanning a number of geeky topics. This week we celebrate the release of Final Fantasy XV with an article chronicling my favorite Final Fantasy summons.
One of the staples of the Final Fantasy series are summons. The concept of summons dates back to Final Fantasy III and the creation of the job class system. The Evoker, Summoner, and Sage all had the ability to call forth creatures to inflict damage on their foes. Moving forward into just about every oher game in the series, summons (or eidolons, guardian forces, etc) became a true mainstay.
Keeping in the Final Fantasy spirit after the release of FF XV, I have for you my top five list of my personal favorite summons! My choices are based on their use in all games, and a single summon won't appear on the list more than once. For example, I'm not going to have Shiva from FF VIII and XIII or any of the sub-types of Bahamut from FF VII.
Check out this week's Top Five by clicking below!
By: Andrew Lister
Welcome to the next installment of a new articles series, Tuesday Top Five! From time to time I'll be coming up with a Top 5 spanning a number of geeky topics. This week we celebrate the release of Final Fantasy XV with an article chronicling my favorite Final Fantasy protagonists.
Greetings, fans! It's been a while since I've posted a Top 5 article, but I'm back with a promise of several Final Fantasy themed articles. Final Fantasy XV dropped today, and a lot of people have been eager to get their hands on the game. I may try it myself, but for the first time ever I'm not rushing out to get it on Day 1. Perhaps I was burned by every game after Final Fantasy X-2.
The first of several weekly articles will be my personal top 5 playable characters from the history of the series. I can tell you right now that my list is probably going to be VERY different from your own. As always, let us know what your own list is in the comments section below!
Check out this week's Top Five by clicking below!
By: Andrew Lister
Since this is the first Thanksgiving that the Questionable Endeavor Network will be celebrating as a podcasting network, I thought it would be fun to ask my fellow podcasters what they are most thankful for this holiday season. Keep in mind our hosts' personalities as you'll probably get a mix of sincerity and snarkiness.
By: Andrew Lister
Welcome to First Impressions, a brand new article series about upcoming video games, television shows, or other media. Each article will focus on previews, demos, or first episodes and give you, our reader, an idea of what you can expect and whether you should spend your time and/or money down the road.
Let's kick off our first installment with our first impressions of the upcoming Pokemon Sun and Moon!
A Brief Introduction to Pokemon
For those of you who have been living under a rock, Pokemon is a Japanese video game franchise that hit the scene in America back in the mid 90s with the Gameboy titles Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue. Since then, the series has seen a number of games across all the iterations of Nintendo's handheld, countless anime series, dozens of animated movies, a successful card game, and the mobile game craze Pokemon Go.
The concept of Pokemon is to go out into the world and attempt to capture wild animals known as Pokemon (or Pocket Monsters). Not only are you going around subjugating all the animals you can, but you're also training your Pokemon to fight against other trainers, a rival, evil organizations like Team Rocket, and leaders of gyms. Each game has interesting locales to explore, individuals to challenge, and new Pokemon to befriend.
Sun & Moon Demo Impressions
The Pokemon Sun and Moon demo was released on October 18th. Like the demo that was released for Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby, players not only get a glimpse of what they can expect in the new release, but they can rack up some free items and Pokemon and transfer them to the full version of the game, which hits stores on November 18th.
As had been hyped, you start the demo with a level 35 Greninja. This just isn't any Greninja, though. As had been hyped, you find out that this Pokemon was given to your young protagonist by someone else to use. Even though the letter stating this doesn't include a name, we know that it comes from Ash Ketchum, the main character from the Pokemon anime. This Greninja comes with the ability Battle Bond, which turns Greninja into a strengthened form when it defeats an opponent. The form that he takes is known as Ash-Greninja, and its abilities, look, and animations all change for the better.
There really wasn't as much to the demo as I would have expected. You get your first look at the Alola Region in two major areas. The first is a town known as Hau'oli City. It's got several shops to visit, people to talk to, and Pokemon wandering around. There is a sense of life to the town, yet it also feels somewhat unsatisfying. For example, the Pokemart inside the Pokemon Center isn't accessible. The Pokemon Center is the only place that really allows any interaction. That being said, I do like the visual aspects of healing your Pokemon in this version.
The second zone is known as Ten Carat Hill. Here you have a few things to do, including fighting wild Pokemon in grassy areas, areas hidden behind large rocks that can be broken by a charging Pokemon that you can ride, trainers to challenge, and a cave to explore and complete a quest. It's fun for a while, but once you complete everything there is to do, you don't have any real reason to load up the game again aside from meeting up with NPCs at specified days to collect more items to send over to the full game.
One of the coolest part of getting to play through these demos is seeing some of the new Pokemon in action. Just about every patch of grass in the demo has one of these three Pokemon wandering around. These are obviously the Pokemon you'll run into at the start of the game, level up to around 15 or 20 and then get rid of for some actually good Pokemon.
The first one pictured if my favorite of the three, Rockruff. He's an adorable rock type Pokemon that will eventually be able to evolve into one of two wolf forms depending on the version of the game that you own. The Moon version is actually a pretty awesome looking werewolf while the Sun version is more of a traditional direwolf.
The second is a normal/flying type called Pikipek. I like the sort of woodpecker look on this one. We don't know if this one will evolve, but I'd assume he has two evolutions as we've seen with Pokemon like Pidgey and Starly.
The Donald Trump looking one is Yungoos. I'm assuming he'll be out new Ratatta-sort of entry. This normal type Pokemon evolves into a completely Trump-esque creature Gumshoos. I'll be passing on this one.
The demo did show off a few interesting changes to the game and battle system. The first thing to note is that the movement in this game is now completely unrestricted. As the games have evolved, movement has gone from the four directional options to a psuedo-free range of movement. Now you can use the thumbsticks to go in any direction.
The dual screens of the 3DS, as shown above, have been changed somewhat during battles. You can click on either your Pokemon or your opponents on the lower screen and get some basic information, such as their types and any status bonuses or weaknesses. As a guy that forgets constantly the different types of all the million Pokemon, this is a huge plus. Having the visual reminder of the number of times I've used moves like Sand Attack or Growl is also a nice touch.
One other change that I noticed comes when you select your moves. Once you battle a certain Pokemon, it tells you whether a move is effective, not effective, or super effective. This may piss off some hardcore players, but for someone that can't memorize the ridiculous type chart, it's really a good change! I imagine that they'll remove that from competitive cooperative battles or at least give players the option to turn it off.
I know that I missed some aspects of the demo, but I feel like everyone should go check it out for themselves. If you're a fan of the world of Pokemon, you won't be disappointed. The demo provides a small taste of what the final product will be, and I feel that it could be one of the most enjoyable experiences in the history of the franchise. If you're new to the game, give it a shot! It seems like they've put a lot of time and love into this game, and I don't think it will disappoint.
Get Pokemon Sun and/or Moon when they launch on November 18th, 2016!
By Adam Salzer
Hello, everybody! As promised I am here with my review of WWE 2k17. Note that I have only played the PS4 version, so that is what I'm basing my judgment off of.
Let's get into it, shall we?
By: Eric Sommers
Welcome back to Little E’s Commander Archive, home to all things related to Commander. As we move forward here on the Questionable Endeavor Network, we will branch out from time to other areas of Magic: the Gathering, from casual to competitive formats and events that impact the game as a whole. This brings us to our topic this, which has been all the buzz since it was announced.
Recently, Wizards announced the Masterpiece Series to much fanfare. Going forward there will be a collection of cards included in booster packs that will highlight a thematic element of the block by reprinting a variety of cards from throughout Magic’s history. This series technically started in the original Zendikar block in the form of Priceless Treasures. In order to highlight the adventure and treasure hunting theme of the popular set, Wizards randomly placed Power Nine cards, dual lands, and an assortment of reserved list cards. These weren’t reprints so much as old cards mixed in with the new. In order to capture this flavor and excitement, WIzards included the Expeditions in the Battle for Zendikar block.
This proved to be a huge success. In order to collect these full art lands that Magic players bought up boxes of booster packs in order to grab these fancy fetchlands, shock lands, and other famous cycles. It was a clever way to get players excited about the set. It was a chance for newer players to get their hands on hard to get or expensive cards. It gave collectors some cards to chase after.
All in all, the community was hyped about these Expeditions, and it led to an increase of sales. It also begged the question, why doesn’t Wizards do this more often? Flash forward a year to the soon to be release Kaladesh and the inclusion of the Inventions and the announced Masterpiece series.
The Masterpiece Series looks to put those older cards in newer players’ hands while keeping them out of standard. The cards selected for the series will be tied thematically to the block. So with Battle for Zendikar we got lands, Kaladesh gives us artifacts, and we anxiously await what the series holds for us.
So far, the cards selected for the series have been big successes. As said earlier, shock land, fetchlands, as well as filter lands from Oath of the Gatewatch were popular choices. Looking at Kaladesh, we will get Mana Crypt, Crucible of Worlds, as well as many famous artifacts. Both blocks seem to be delivering on their hype. It almost seems like each set has a built in From the Vault. So what do we have to look forward to with these awesome gifts from Wizards?
In order to figure out what to expect of the Masterpiece Series, we need to look at past blocks and see what options there could be for their own Expeditions. Each block has its own identity, so it should be easy to assign some Masterpiece level cards to them. Lands and artifacts seem like such obvious choices to start this series. Both are major facets of the game and make up some of the most valuable cards in the history of the game. The cards types also highlighted a major theme of the block. When look at other blocks in history, we can start to see what the Masterpiece Series has in store.
Looking back into the not so distant past, we will find the Tarkir block. Now, the block kicked off with Khans of Tarkir, which introduced us to the wedge tribes, so it would be hard to shine the spotlight here. But Fate Reforged and Dragons of Tarkir were heavy with Dragons. It seems like a Masterpiece collection of dragons would be perfect for this block. Dragon is one of if not the most popular creature type and there are plenty of choice dragons that could be highlighted.
However, can Dragons hold their own against the value of cards featured as Expeditions? I didn’t believe so at first, but was proven wrong when I checked out this article. It seems the right choice of dragons with the correct art could see some value as high as the Expeditions. With dragons being such a popular creature type, it is only a matter of time before we get them in the form of masterpieces.
Theros block was twofold in its theme. First, it was a Greek inspired block, and secondly it was an attempt at an enchantment block. It might be hard to do a Masterpiece series on Greek inspired cards, but enchantments is something that everyone can get behind. The card type has always been popular and the history of Magic gives us many fine selections to choose from. A search of expensive enchantment proves that there is plenty of value in this card type. We will likely get a return to Theros as some point, and Masterpiece enchantment series is inevitable.
Our next block is Return to Ravnica, and this is where things start to get a little murky with our selections. Ravnica is defined by its guilds and is highlighted by multi colored cards. I suppose the theme of the Masterpieces could be organizations in Magic’s history, but the more obvious choice here is gold cards. Although there is quite the selection of cards that can be highlighted for the series, the value of these cards pale in comparison to those previously listed. Wizards would really have to find some hidden gems and spruce them up with some new artwork to get players excited for this series as they would be about Inventions.
All in all, I am excited about the Masterpiece Series. It will create a great deal of speculation for each new set. It was a great addition in order to get reprints into the hands of new players without disrupting competitive formats, gets collectors excited about buying new sets, and will spice up some limited games (since the cards are legal if opened during booster drafts and sealed events). Sure, not all series will be considered equal, but I am confident that Wizards will use the Masterpiece Series to make as many players happy as possible with their selections in the years to come.
Let me know what cards you would like to see as Inventions in Aether Revolt or what kind of themes you would want to see on other planes or in past sets. Thanks for joining us on the Questionable Endeavor Network for Little E’s Commander Archive. Keep coming back each week for more Magic: the Gathering content. Happy Commandering!
By: Eric Sommers
Welcome to Little E’s Commander Archive, the “semi”-weekly article where we discuss our favorite Magic: the Gathering format. This week’s topic extends beyond the realm of Commander and looks at a tradition of Magic that goes back to the very first printing: cycles.
A cycle is a group of cards that are related in flavor or abilities. It can be a vertical cycle; one that appears at common, uncommon, and rare or mythic. More commonly we see horizontal cycles that appear across all five of the colors.
Cycles are used quite often by designers to highlight themes and to generate buzz about certain cards. Many players get excited about these cycles, and they tend to be popular cards. Some cards don’t start as cycles, but because of popularity, R&D will create the cards needed to make a full cycle in later sets. Sometimes we have to wait quite some time for these cycles to be completed, or in the case of our focus today, still waiting…
Commander players love cycles. Quite often we will make room for complete cycles to be in our decks if our color identity allows it. But what happens when we get to those incomplete cycles? It is not much fun to see other colors get fun cards that are a part of a cycle that doesn’t represent the one we are playing.
Often times in earlier designs, certain color combinations weren’t represented in cycles. When this happens, we Commander players are left waiting for day the cycle is completed so we can quickly add them to our decks
So which cycles are Commander players the most anxious to see completed? Here are my picks for the cards we are impatiently waiting for.
The Morphing Cycle
Morphling sure didn’t start as a cycle. Printed in 1998, the art was originally commissioned for a reprint of Clone. It was only later in development that R&D felt that Clone was too confusing for players. They opted to instead create the card that would be known as Superman. Morphling can do it all and for sometime was considered the most powerful creature in Magic.
In 2007, Magic released the set Planar Chaos, which warped the color wheel. There were several cards in the set that were meant to be variations of popular cards in different colors. Most players enjoyed the call back to the original blue shapeshifter.
It wasn’t until 2009 when Conflux brought us Thornling that the cycle conversation began. My original thought was that we would see the white or black variation every other year. Well, we have yet to see a Grave-ling or an Angel-ling (I like one of those more than the other). We did get something close back in Dissension, but that even predated our red counterpart. Players have been waiting for the other variations of this shapeshifter for last seven years. It is only a matter of time before this cycle is completed.
The Missing Leyline
Back during the Ravnica block, we got a cycle of nearly free enchantments. Although they ended up fairly popular, Leyline of the Void proved particularly valuable on the tournament scene. It was used widely in the Modern format since it was a powerful sideboard card against Dredge and other top decks at the time.
In order to make the card more accessible to players entering the format, Wizards decided to reprint the card in M11. Instead of reprinting the whole cycle, however, we were given a whole new batch of leylines for the other colors. So now while red players can enjoy two leylines, there’s a void for the black players who missed out on the second wave. It would be unlikely that we will see another leyline printed though outside a supplemental.
I spoke briefly about Clone earlier. After R&D figured out the rules baggage, it was a constant reprint thereafter, along with a large number of variants. It took quite some time (from 1993 to 2011), but those variants started crossing into multi-colored territory. These gold clones have been quite popular amongst the Commander crowd.
Though I don’t think this was originally meant to be a cycle, the fact that we have three of the five allied color pairs has a lot of players buzzing for the other two. Blue-white seems to be the one getting the most demand, but I feel like a red-white clone will be a great addition to the cycle.
This is a series of cards that is likely to be completed, but it will take quite some time. Once we have these two clones, the crowd will change it’s tune and start looking for the enemy colored clones. Sit back, we will get them in time.
The Missing X Guild Spell
Return to Ravnica was a block that put a lot of pressure on Wizards to produce. The original trip to the plane was one of, if not the most, popular blocks in the game’s history. The sequel brought a lot of new legends and reinforced some of the most popular commanders and deck builds. Cycles were used to help flesh out each of the guilds with each getting guild leaders and charms.
Overall, the block was a success. One shortfall though was the missing X spell for the Selesnya guild. Each of the other nine guilds were given a X spell except our token making brethren. When the community questioned the decision to leave green and white out in this cycle, Mark Rosewater claimed that it was not done intentionally. The fact that each of the other guilds had an X spell was merely coincidental.
Of all the cycles I list in this article, this is the one I believe to most likely be completed. It will likely be in a supplemental set in order to preserve the flavor of Ravnica.
Magus of the Spells
The Time Spiral block was pure nostalgia overload. Each set focused on either the past, alternate reality, or future of some of Magic’s favorite characters and cards. It was in this block that we were given the super-cycle of cards known as the Magus Cycle. Each set had its own cycle of creatures who had the abilities of a famous card that was previously a different card type; Time Spiral had artifacts, Planar Chaos lands, and Future Sight enchantments. It seemed like the perfect cycle was complete.
However, Commander 2015 gave us the new Magus of the Wheel and changed everything. We now had a Magus that represented a famous spell from Magic’s history. It made a great deal of sense and was exciting to see. Most players got excited about the other four cards that would fill the cycle. It was an obvious conclusion since there were five decks in the series and there would be room for one in each. However, we were left scratching our heads and given just the one new Magus. This is another cycle I feel will be completed over time, perhaps one in each of the yearly Commander sets. Still, it would have been nice to just give them all to us at once.
As you can see, unfinished cycles are as big of a part of Magic’s history as any other element of the game. Players look for these cycles to be completed rather sooner than later. Which cycle did I miss? Which cycle would you like to see completed for you Commander decks? Come back and check out our future articles about the Commander format here on the Questionable Endeavour network. Happy Commandering.
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