Happening now on GameLuv

Nintendo Reveals the NX as the Nintendo Switch


“Nintendo Switch. We decided to.” The Google translated text on Nintendo Japan’s official site is probably all the explanation anyone really needs. Nintendo does what Nintendoes and that is almost always “100% Weird”. They did not disappoint us today.

So the NX is officially the Nintendo Switch, named as such because — look at it — it’s a home console tethered to a TV, it’s a tablet-sized portable, it supports multiplayer by breaking apart the controller and it even has a traditional Pro Controller option. You can switch to play however you want.

Peripherals and Game Carts
It looks like a peripheral bonanza for Nintendo to profit from. I fully expect at least one necessary charging cable to be sold extra along with a myriad of color options, battery packs, cables and headrest mounts (?). Games come on DS sized cartridges and slip into the Nintendo Switch whether you’re playing on the go or docked to a TV. I assumed the processing guts were in the large docking station but it seems that the Switch is fully encompassed in the tablet device.

Backward Compatibility?
Speaking of being docked to a TV, that base station features 2 USB ports on the side and seemingly no space for a disc drive, ruling out backward compatibility with any Wii U, Wii and GameCube discs we may own. If it is backward compatible we’ll likely be re-buying our games or engaging with an elaborate system to send in discs and have them exchanged for downloads. That sounds exhaustive for consumers and Nintendo alike. I expect a full break from disc-based backward compatibility, possibly ALL backward compatibility, from here on out.

Now I’m just Arguing with Myself
The number of permutations of this hardware reminds me of this old GameCube promo booklet. It took a 2-page spread to show all the ways you could hook a GameCube up to a Game Boy Advance for features that hardly anyone, even Nintendo, implemented. With the Switch it seems like people could just be confused by what to do with it. Being built around a tablet is a smart move but I think a lot of people may be put off by that familiar form factor inundated by controller add-ons and docking bases. “Why bother with that when my iPad already plays great looking games without extra stuff?”

However, while it wasn’t shown in the video the tablet may be all we need to play a whole bevvy of Nintendo games. Those who don’t want the bolt-on controllers can stick to a new Touch Generation of games à la Miitomo and even Pokemon GO. “The kids play with those controller doo-dads, I’ll stick to the brain scientist man myself,” Grandad could be seen saying in an advertorial in Home & Garden magazine. Rather than winning non-gamers over with a new motion control gimmick the Switch’s secret weapon may be that it can cater to everyone. Cue the advertising slogans urging family members to each buy their own.


Oh right, Games!
Every generation Nintendo trots out an image like the one above as proof that, this time, third party publishers are going to be on board with their wonky new console for the long haul. So let’s just say I’m not totally won over by this roster but I am nonetheless excited to see what people release on it. Here’s the official list without all the sneaky middleware names that Nintendo slid in:

505 Games

Activision Publishing



BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment




DeNA Co.

Electronic Arts





Gungho Online Entertainment

HAMSTER Corporation



Konami Digital Entertainment



Maximum Games

Nippon Ichi Software


SEGA Games

Spike Chunsoft


Starbreeze Studios

Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.

Telltale Games

THQ Nordic

Tokyo RPG Factory

TT Games


Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

It’s an appreciable mix of all the big names from both Western and Eastern territories along with a handful of feel-good indie-sized studios. Are they all bringing totally new, original titles? Probably not, but having some of the games from these studios available on a portable only adds value to the Switch’s proposition.

No Gimmicks, Just Games
It didn’t hit me until an hour or so after the reveal (and well after I started this rambling post) but the Switch isn’t trying to revolutionize how anyone plays a game. Nintendo didn’t flaunt motion controls, accelerometers, dual screens or bean-shaped button layouts. Instead they showed us a series of gameplay options that caters to practically everyone, all with one device.

With the Switch we’ll be able to engage with Nintendo’s games in seemingly any form factor we choose. And probably more importantly, third parties don’t have to run their games through a gimmick machine to bring them to Nintendo’s new platform. Translating a game from PC to PlayStation to the Switch’s NVIDIA Tegra hardware may be more complicated than a simple copy and paste but the whole game doesn’t have to be re-designed for a change.

There’s still much, much more to learn about the Switch before it’s March 2017 release (price, hard drive capacity, battery life, launch lineup) but I’m pretty impressed with what has been shown. A TV is where I prefer to play but every now and then I’ve enlisted the Vita to remotely stream the PlayStation 4 and always wished it worked better. Clearly there are cases when even I want to play on a handheld device and the Switch caters to that out of the box. I’m impressed but not completely sold but that’s a fair deal better a response than I had from the Wii U.

Watch, Listen and Reminisce About Boulder Dash

Ever since Giant Bomb did that Quick Look of Boulder Dash: 30th Anniversary I’ve been feeling the feels for the Atari PC and NES versions that my sister and I used to play. It’s taken way longer than I planned but I finally finished a new videOST series for the game’s soundtrack and recorded a little session with the game full of stories and memories. I also managed to finish the game without an excessive amount of cheating. It’s the first time I can remember ever seeing (and hearing) the ending!

Done Playing: Roundabout (PC)


I was never able to wrap my mind around the tricky spinning puzzle series Kururin but I was always fascinated by the titles. It also didn’t help that it was never released in North America and fell pretty low on my ROMs-to-check-out list. So when No Goblin revealed a wacky 3D spiritual successor packed with FMV and a hint of Katamari whimsy I was ready to jump right in. Short story short, I didn’t.

I wound up getting the game in January of this year from Humble Bundle but put it down a few weeks later for another trippy, cerebral experience with The Witness. I’ve been ready to get back to Roundabout ever since and this past weekend I finally did. Naturally, I was 2 missions away from the end but let’s rewind a little farther first.

Roundabout opens with the introduction of the silent hero… person, Georgio. The game never specifically says “him” or “she” and other characters throw around non-specific terms like “buddy” and “pal”. The character is obviously played by a female actress but the story and experiences are vague enough that anyone can read whatever they want into Georgio. It’s maybe the most unexpected part of this already inexplicable game and it was ultimately the reason I came back to finish it.

That’s because the parts where you’re piloting a constantly spinning limousine through an unpredictable series of timed missions can get a little frustrating. It takes a shift in your gameplay perception to even engage with the controller. Timing and alignment are most critical and staring at the spinning car for just the right angle of attack can turn invasive. It’s one of those games that gets into my head and forces its way into my dreams for a few days. I’m honestly not very good with the controls but the game is mostly gracious with checkpoints and never takes itself so seriously to make you feel incapable after exploding 5 or 10 times in a row. Completionists may feel a sting though as every mission has a tight time trial and there are hundreds of collectibles around the game’s moderately sized open world.

Even at it’s most frustrating Roundabout is compelling for the cavalcade of FMV scenes that bookend each mission. They feature a host of bizarre and hilarious characters portrayed by the familiar faces of No Goblin’s game industry friends (and by extension, the Giant Bomb circle). It’s funny seeing video game composer Danny Baranowsky playing an ultra-stereotyped Canadian tourist but the character that kept me playing was Georgio’s surprise love interest, Beth.

It is downright ridiculous that this absurd game of spinning cars and low budget cinematography could stir my heart like it did. Doled out in painfully short video clips over the course of the game, I went from writing off the bubbly Beth to worrying if she and Georgio would wind up together or not. There’s burgeoning friendship, a lovers spat, an unexpected reunion and ultimately the happy ending I was so worried about. All of this without a single word from Georgio and all filmed on a single crappy car-interior set.

Like so many open world games I found myself driving around town after the credits, hunting for collectibles but really searching for more offbeat FMV magic. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back and finish finding the hidden tchotchkes but I am so very happy that I finally finished this surprisingly sweet game.

Earth Defense Force 5 Announced for 2017 at TGS

D3 Publisher and Sandlot announced a new Earth Defense Force title overnight at the Tokyo Game Show. The appropriately titled Earth Defense Force 5 is coming first to PlayStation 4 in Japan in 2017. No Western release has been confirmed but as the series’ fanbase continues to grow in North America and Europe it’ll most likely happen at some point. For now: rampant speculation.

Giant bipedal frog creatures carrying guns! This is by far the most over the top thing I’ve seen in the series. At least one fan has already suggested these could be the as-yet-unseen Ravagers, the alien race behind the incessant attacks on Earth throughout the series. At one point we see one of them leap out of the way of incoming fire and another give a hand signal command, presumably to nearby insects.

New UFO types. The little saucer ships remind me of their counterpart in EDF2: Invaders from Planet Space hinting at more inspirations from the series’ older entries. There are also slightly reworked (and golden colored) dropships that rain down streams of giant insects and a glimpse of a gargantuan, blade-wielding mother ship.

A new monster spawner. At the 1:00 mark in the video we see giant spikes rain down in front of the EDF forces that start teleporting in a stream of ants.

A new map location. A few quick clips show a new metallic indoor environment. In one shot a group of EDF Rangers are running up a dimly lit ramp towards the battle raging outside. In another the fight takes place in the dark interior with red lighting and muzzle flashes illuminating the action.

Physics! Up to this point EDF has relied heavily on the design theory of “just add more explosions” when it comes to damaged vehicles and alien craft. But there are a few glimpses in the trailer of devastated tanks flipping over, mechs falling to pieces, giant alien debris collapsing to the ground and even an ant headshot with exploding skull!

Rain and splatter. It’s a very simple looking effect but there are a few shots of action with sheets of rain falling down the screen. There are also 2 really quick cuts with red and orange insect blood splattered on the ground and environment. We see a lot of this arterial spray when shooting the bugs but this is the first I can remember where it’s appeared on the environment.

Sandlot has made tiny, iterative improvements on the series since it began so it’s not a surprise that I’m calling out blood splatter as a hot new feature. I was a little dismayed at how similar the game looks but there are a lot of surprises hidden in the quick cuts of this trailer. I hope it’s hinting at even more changes and surprises that only we dedicated fans can truly appreciate.

Good Karma, Bad Game: The Music of Super Bombad Racing

Because nobody asked — no, wait — because one person asked, here is the entire soundtrack from one of the most maligned Star Wars games in existence: Super Bombad Racing. I bought it just over a year ago to see if its soundtrack offered any fun remixes of Star Wars themes for a feature I wrote on Original Sound Version. Turns out, it doesn’t.

But I am nothing but a conduit: passing something I have (and don’t necessarily love) onto someone who wants it. I’m like a Video Game Buddhist, or at the least I’m paying it forward for my fellow gamers in search of obscure coverage.

Who’s next? What do you want to see or hear? If I’ve got it or can get ahold of it I’d love to do some more requests. Bonus points if you pick a game that happens to be on my growing backlog.