My Yoshi Jack-O-Lantern

by Matthew Thompson

Hello everyone! For about a decade now, I have taken to making video game-themed Jack-O-Lanterns for Halloween each year. Cartoony platforming protagonists have become kind of my go-to for these pumpkin carvings. In the past, that has included the PS2’s holy trinity of Jak, Ratchet and Sly, the limbless wonder Rayman, and finally last year the legendary, mustachioed plumber himself Mario (in a Tanooki suit of course!). This year I tackled another platforming favorite of mine, Mario’s dinosaur buddy Yoshi. Now I am here to share some pictures of the carving. Here they are Continue reading

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Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle Impressions

by Matthew Thompson

I was very open to the idea of Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, but had no idea if I would like it. Unlike most people, it wasn’t because of the Rabbids. I actually have some fond memories of the Rabbid games. I used to play the original Raving Rabbids title on the Wii with my mom and in the years since she has gotten me a few other entries in the series as gifts. The asynchronous multiplayer in the Wii U’s Rabbids Land was a particularly big hit with friends and family while some of the other Wii party games were a good time when I could gather more friends for game nights back in college. My worry was whether I could get into something turn-based. I’ve mentioned my aversion to this style of combat in the past. I’d avoided any RPGs like that since I was a kid and my only flirtation with strategy games of that ilk – Advance Wars and a similar game in the Prince of Persia series (yes there was a PoP strategy game and I own it!) – didn’t last all that long. Would this wacky Mario + Rabbids crossover leave me cold in the same way? Apparently not as I found myself hooked on this for a couple of weeks last month Continue reading

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review

by Matthew Thompson

There are few series in gaming that I love as much as The Legend of Zelda. I’m particularly fond of the 3D entries. The fact that we only get one of these every five or so years makes the already anticipated release of a new Zelda into a true gaming event. The latest in the storied franchise came out alongside Nintendo’s newest console the Switch to the ravest of reviews this past March. While I can’t say Breath of the Wild lived up to the overwhelming amounts of hype that surrounded its release, it is a fantastic game – one of my personal favorites in a series not exactly short on superlative outings – and a bold reinvention for the 30-plus year old franchise Continue reading

Looking Back at the Wii U

by Matthew Thompson

The Wii U’s swan song is nearly upon us, but for me – someone who plans to play Breath of the Wild on the Nintendo Switch – its death knell has already tolled. I thought before moving on, I’d look back at the good times I had with the system and the ways it disappointed me Continue reading

My Tanooki Mario Jack-O-Lantern

by Matthew Thompson

Hey everyone! I love Halloween and my favorite tradition in recent years has been pumpkin carving. About a decade ago, I moved on from simple faces and pre-made stencils to creating my own designs mostly based on video games. Today I am back with my newest Jack-O-Lantern inspired by gaming’s most famous mascot Continue reading

Kirby: Planet Robobot Impressions

by Matthew Thompson

Kirby games generally come in two flavors. You have the traditional adventures that take after the 1995 NES classic and the more experimental outings and spinoffs. In the latter, you may find yourself controlling Kirby via the touch screen, racing or even playing golf. I find these to be a bit hit or miss, but it is easy to see why some would strike a chord with the right player. I don’t think a typical Kirby game has wowed me since I first played that aforementioned NES title – which remains one of my all-time favorite 2D platformers – but they are dependable. They are always good, solid fun. And there is comfort to be found in that Continue reading

Best of 7th Gen: #10-Super Mario Galaxy 2

by Matthew Thompson

(I am counting down my 25 favorite games of the last console generation. I explain a little about how I put the list together in this introduction. And you can see a collection of all my articles on the Best of 7th Gen compiled here.)

In 1996, gamers were blown away by Mario’s first foray into three dimensions. It was certainly quite the sight to see him moving in 3D space after years of seeing him run and jump along 2D planes. The game’s use of the analog stick (or perhaps the Nintendo 64’s in general) was a revolutionary one that would change the industry forever. And yet for me – and this may seem blasphemous – Super Mario 64 just isn’t what I imagined from Mario in 3D. The Mario I grew up on was about linear platforming assault courses. Mario 64 is a good game in its own right, but it was more open than I expected, a bit more slanted towards exploration and adventure than I’d hoped, and not the point A to point B tests of my platforming prowess that I coveted. Fortunately that is exactly the direction Nintendo went with the Galaxy series and I finally got the 3D Mario game I’d always dreamed of Continue reading

My E3 2015 Wishlist

by Matthew Thompson

2015 has been a lackluster year of gaming for me. But E3 is only a week away and with it comes the hopes and dreams of a better gaming tomorrow. And hopes and dreams will take center stage in my annual Pre-E3 post. Sure I’ve added some of my typically inaccurate predictions at the bottom, but they are a mere footnote to the main attraction that is my list of wishes for E3 2015. Without further ado, let’s dive in Continue reading