All posts by: Branden Johnson

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Donut County Proves Games Don’t Have to Be Complicated to Be Fun

There was a time when video games could rely on only two buttons. Heck, there was even a time when video games relied on one, plus a joystick. Consoles like the Atari 2600 and the original Nintendo Entertainment System proved that people were

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The Best Are-You-Sure-This-Is-a-Game? Games

The gaming medium has grown a lot from its roots as a TV ping pong simulator. From 2D platformers to 3D role-playing games, from sports to fighter plane combat simulators, video games have encompassed almost every obvious genre. In fact, we’ve

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Florence Review: A Look at 2018’s Bittersweet Mobile Game of the Year

I am not a cell phone gamer. When a new, big game hits iOS, sure, I’ll download it and try it out, but rarely do I invest any significant time into the platform. Growing up with complex console games, I’ve found that there are very few mobile games

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The Biggest Game Collecting Pitfall to Avoid

I was fully ready to embrace the digital future. Despite nagging doubts that said digital purchases aren’t “owned” in the traditional sense, and any digital property can disappear forever at any time, I purchased a giant Micro SD card for my Nintendo

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Tetris 99 Brings Battle Royale Action to the Classic Puzzler

Nintendo surprised the world by dropping an addictive new game in last week’s Nintendo Direct presentation. And more surprising than its sudden launch was its price tag: free for subscribers to Nintendo’s online service. Its pedigree is known the

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Single-Player Games in a Fortnite World

Games like Fortnite and the new Apex Legends seem to foretell the direction of the games industry. Seriously, if a game can be free and still manage to make millions and millions of dollars, there must be something there, and it stands to reason that

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Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition Review

If you’re new to the Tales series, you might not understand why Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition is such a big deal. A remaster of a ten-year-old game? So what? I mentioned in my Tales of Remasters piece that the original Tales of Vesperia was

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An Ode to the PlayStation Vita: Sony’s Little Handheld That Couldn’t (but Really Should Have)

There have been a handful of handhelds in the past thirty years that have truly risen to prominence. The original Gameboy is perhaps the most famous, with hangers-on like the Sega Game Gear never able to match it. Then there is the Nintendo DS which,

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How to Enjoy Kingdom Hearts 3, For the Total Newbie

There’s no question that Kingdom Hearts 3 is a highly anticipated game. Years in the making, it’s been on gamers’ minds since Kingdom Hearts 2 released back in 2005. This isn’t some Duke Nukem Forever situation, either. This is a game that’s been in

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Back to the FutureGrind: Fast, Frantic, Fun

It would be easy to dismiss FutureGrind as a budget title without a lot to offer. After all, at first glance it appears to be a sort of rail-based platform racer without a ton of variety backing up the admittedly clean and cool visuals. However,

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Tales of Vesperia Finally Gets the Second Chance It Deserves

In 2008, Tales of Vesperia hit North American shelves, finally giving Tales fans a high-def entry into the long-running and much-beloved series. Unfortunately for many of those fans, Tales of Vesperia was an Xbox 360 exclusive. As part of Microsoft’s

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The PlayStation Classic Is a Flop. Here’s Why That Matters for Retro Gamers

I jumped aboard the hype train when the PlayStation Classic was announced, preordering right away. $100 was a bit steep, and I knew there would only be about 20 games, but I’m a collector. At best, I’d have an SNES Classic-caliber mini console that

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Why Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s World of Light Mode Succeeds Where Past Games Failed

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the best version of Smash yet. It’s not even close competition. Everything about the game feels tighter, better, more refined. The number of options available for everything from character choice to battle settings is

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Energy Cycle Edge Review: (Too Much) Challenge in Three Dimensions

I’m a fan of puzzle games. I can lose myself for long periods of time in Dr. Mario, and playing competitive Tetris/Puyo Puyo with my wife on the Switch is a ton of fun. I was happy to tackle Energy Cycle Edge even without having played its prequel.

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Interview With “kuso” Developer Fred Wood

I’m not a rage-quitter. Part of that is because I generally play games that fall a bit lower on the difficulty scale, but also, in a well-designed game, there’s really no one to blame a loss on but yourself. That’s what drew me to games like Super

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SEGA Genesis Classics for Nintendo Switch: Nostalgia on the Go

If you were a kid in the 90s, you no doubt have at least a passing familiarity with the console wars. Bloodless battles fought on school playgrounds, they saw kids of every background defend their video game console of choice with ferocity. See, kids

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Music to My Ears: The Best Video Game Soundtracks of All Time

Video game music remains an underappreciated art form. There are some out there doing the hard work of changing public perception about game music, with podcasts like The Legacy Music Hour and VGMpire producing content that highlights the best game

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Gotta Grind ‘em All: Is Pokemon for Me in 2018?

Despite being a giant video game fan, and a huge RPG nerd to boot, I somehow skipped the Pokemon craze when it hit the U.S. in the 90s. I was the right age, with the right mindset, but something kept me from ever picking it up. Besides putting in a

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