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

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

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

Best of 7th Gen: #13-Mario Kart Wii

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.)

Before Mario Kart 8 sped onto the scene last year and lapped the rest of the series, my favorite Mario Kart was the Wii entry. This isn’t a particularly popular choice, but Mario Kart Wii was the first game in the franchise to really tick all the boxes for things most important to me in the long-running arcade racing series Continue reading

Mario Kart 8 (Animal Crossing) DLC Impressions

by Matthew Thompson

Nintendo has delivered another swath of great new content for Mario Kart 8 this month. Just like the series’ first foray into the world of downloadable content last fall, MK8’s latest DLC delivers fresh new courses, remade classics and new characters that feature some crossovers from other Nintendo franchises, all at a very affordable price Continue reading

Best of 7th Gen: #15-New Super Mario Bros. Wii

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.)

I couldn’t have been more excited by the prospect of New Super Mario Bros. At the time it released in 2006, I was left somewhat unimpressed by Mario’s two forays into the third dimension. They just weren’t what I imagined Mario to be in 3D. So a return to what made me fall in love with the mustachioed plumber, classic 2D platforming, was an idea I could really get behind. But once I got beyond the sheer excitement of Mario’s sidescrolling revival, I realized the game just wasn’t up to the series standards. Luckily Nintendo’s second stab at this New series on the Wii would deliver a game worthy of the franchise’s legacy Continue reading

Mario Kart 8 (The Legend of Zelda) DLC Impressions

by Matthew Thompson

Downloadable content is something I’ve wanted to see in Mario Kart for years. As my favorite multiplayer series, Mario Kart titles get played at my house long after release, so getting some new content added along the way is a huge plus. With its first DLC for Mario Kart 8, Nintendo has delivered with both quality content and great value. Here is my breakdown of what is included in The Legend of Zelda pack Continue reading

Gaming Mini-Reviews: Wii U Edition

by Matthew Thompson

My newest pair of mini-reviews looks at two Wii U games related to Nintendo’s biggest franchises: the Zelda/Dynasty Warriors crossover Hyrule Warriors and the famed Italian plumber’s latest mainline entry, Super Mario 3D World Continue reading

My Gaming Jack-O-Lanterns of Years Past: Rayman and Koopa Troopa

by Matthew Thompson

I have a couple more old carvings to show off before Halloween. To this point I had mostly focused on faces, but for these I did full characters Continue reading