35 years of PacMan

35 years years ago Pac Man was unleashed in Japanese arcades. One of the timeless classics, Pac Man's impact on the videogame industry cannot be understated. While he's fallen on hard times recently, PacMan's appearance in Super Smash Brothers shows that Namco at least cares enough to have him appear from time to time. Happy birthday PacMan!

Plus he also had that can of noodles, that was something.

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Thanks for all the memories Maxis

Electronic Arts has closed the original Maxis studio (although the brand lives on). Maker of some of my favorite game franchises Sim City and The Sims, the studio's long history of making excellent simulation games is one that cannot be denied.

An excellent brief look at the history of Maxis.


An excellent video about Maxis videogames:

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Some thoughts on Dragon Age: Inquisition

So I finally got around to beating Dragon Age: Inquisiton this week and here are some of my thoughts about the game.


  • Setting up your world state in Dragon Age Keep is totally worth it. For a series that wasn't originally designed for tracking the world state, Inquisition finally lets you see the effect your actions in the previous games have had on the game world.
  • I'm glad Inquisition took a lot of cues from DA: Origins since it gives you a wider view of the world instead of sticking to a single city.
  • The supporting cast of characters are pretty varied and well written. Iron Bull, Dorian, Varric and Cassandra are all pretty interesting characters.
  • The ball sequence is probably the most unique section I've played in a rpg in a while.


  • I'm disappointed that one of the early game choices involving the Mages and Templars really hints at you to pick one choice over the other.
  • Someone at Bioware figured out how to make things shiny or wet and they pretty much applied it to everything.
  • After introducing the main villain the game pretty much sidelines him for random lackeys which is pretty disappointing.
  • I could do without having to return to your base to deal with the timed war table missions. What makes it more disappointing is there are a few (luckily not many) that have direct tie ins to quests.
  • Don't expect many references to Dragon Age: Awakening (first game expansion). Although some of the other DLCs from both games are referenced.

All in all, I found Dragon Age: Inquisition to be a really good game. If you got scarred away from the series after the 2nd game but liked the first I recommend checking this game out. Oh and nothing beats dealing justice from your throne in Skyhold against those who have wronged you.

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Favorite games of 2014

2014 was a strange year for videogames. Even with the promise of new consoles, games struggled to find their place among them. Many series faltered in either not living up to their initial promises or just not working correctly. Despite the setbacks some real gems arrived this year including a banner year from Nintendo, the best licensed property game since Batman: Arkham Asylum and several sequels that lived up to their predecessors.

Best games of 2014

1. Mario Kart 8Mario Kart 8 features some of the best racing I've had in Mario Kart in years. Rather than try and reinvent all its features, MK8 instead focuses on making sure the core gameplay, tracks and music are given a great level of polish. While the new feature anti-gravity is a bit underused in the base game it is given its time to shine in the first dlc pack. The only negative being the reduced battle mode, Mario Kart 8 and its DLC packs still delivered the most fun I've had in a game this year.
2. South Park: The Stick of TruthIt took years but South Park finally has a game worthy of the tv series. Featuring animation that looks exactly like the show and the full voicework and story from the show runners, South Park succeeds where so many other licensed games have struggled in the past.
3. Dragon Age: InquisitionNothing stops the Inquisition and Dragon Age is no exception. Connecting Dragon Age 1 and 2 together was no easy feat but Inquisition does a good job of not only that but also telling its own story. Taking several pages from the first Dragon Age game, Inquisition has you crossing the world, building your forces and making decisions that will affect 2 kingdoms. The companions you can recruit are still the highlight, each one coming with an interesting backstory and motivations. Interacting with them is the highlight of the game, although dealing medieval justice from your throne is also kind of fun. If you loved Dragon Age 1 but weren't a fan of 2, don't shy away from Inquisition.
4. Gods Will Be WatchingTake the most intense choice decision of any recent Telltale game and ramp it up by 100%. Gods Will Be Watching is a series of intense scenarios as you attempt to survive a variety of situations. Unforgiving difficulty, random events that can force a restart and crazy twists highlight a game that asks you to make difficult decisions with limited resources.
5. Far Cry 4The sequel to my goty 2012, Far Cry 4 is still a fun romp through the war torn country of Kryat. Featuring a very open ended design philosophy (including the easter egg to beat the game in 15 minutes) Far Cry 4 puts the player in control and gives them the tools to do whatever they like.
6. Wolfenstein: The New OrderIf you would've bet me at the beginning of the year that Wolfenstein would be on my top 10, you'd be much richer right now. Wolfenstein comes through as an excellent first person shooter combined with an overly ambitious story compared to many other fps games on the market today.
7. Hyrule WarriorsThe Legend of Zelda meets Dynasty Warriors could've gone wrong in so many ways but Omega team manages to pull off a competent mixture of the 2 series. Giant bosses add some variety to the stages and every character controls differently enough forcing you to change your strategy.
8. Captain Toad: Treasure TrackerCaptain Toad's spin off game is a fun light puzzle platforming game.
9. TowerFallA crazy competitive couch game Towerfall is easy enough to understand and a blast to play with friends.
10. Super Smash Bros.While it doesn't have the ambitious story mode of the last Smash Bros game, the core of the Wii U version is just as fun. The return of challenges (both coop and single player) are a mixture of being fun, varied and creativity.
11. inFamous: Second SonOf all the Sony exclusives this year infamous was the one I was looking forward to the most. It delivered a solid open world game and had some really cool lighting effects.
12. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIIIThe end to the FF XIII saga, Lightning Returns is borderline good and bad all at the same time. While weighed down with the story of the past 2 games, the gameplay systems are quite fun and different (it helps that it reminds me of Majora's Mask one of the best misunderstood Legend of Zelda games).
13. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground ZeroesGround Zeroes teases the idea of what the next Metal Gear game will be like and shows a lot of potential but doesn't go far enough to show the true potential of a next gen Metal Gear game.
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20 years since the release of Final Fantasy III (VI) in North America

It's hard to believe that it's been 20 years since one of the greatest jrpgs ever was released in North America. Final Fantasy III (although it's proper number is VI) was Squaresoft's final SNES Final Fantasy game but it cemented Squaresoft's place as one of the best jrpg companies in the market.

I remember waiting almost half a day at the video rental store for someone to return the game so that I could rent it and play it. And the game did not disappoint me in any way.

Final Fantasy III was one of those moments in videogames where a developer takes everything they learned and maximized the potential of the console and the combined knowledge of their past entries to deliver an outstanding product that I consider my favorite Final Fantasy game in the series.

From the sprite work, to the music, to the gameplay systems and its hidden secrets Final Fantasy III was full of secrets and gameplay that was easy to pick up. Characters were all given their own motivations and sub plots just waiting for the player to discover. Villains are equally memorable like the goofy octopus Ultros and his constant run ins with the party. It goes without saying that the game includes one of best transformations from a bumbling sidekick introduction to supervillain for the character Kefka. The pre-recorded laugh that would mark his introduction would mark some of the most memorable scenes in the game.

The set pieces are equally praiseworthy. While today's modern games usually resort to destruction or an explosion to mark a setpiece, Final Fantasy III had numerous crazy sequences including: an opera sequence, diplomatic dinner, even an attempted suicide! There are so many moments I love in the game from its epic introduction:

To one of the finest endings ever created for a jrpg.

At the time when most videogame endings were a few sparse minutes with a congratulations screen, Final Fantasy VI had an ending that dedicated itself to wrapping up every individual character arc (well those that you found) and had some of the best music to accompany it (the way one character theme moved into another blew my mind as a kid).

If you have the time I suggest watching Gametrailers excellent Final fantasy retrospective part about Final Fantasy VI here. It covers everything from development, moments and a multitude of other things that make Final Fantasy VI stand out.

Here's to you Final Fantasy III, one of gaming's most classic games, and a well deserved 20th birthday.

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