The Dark Souls of Super Mario Odyssey

dark souls super mario odyssey
Image courtesy of Reddit

Lessons from Mario Odyssey and Dark Souls

I played a lot of Super Mario Odyssey after its release. I didn’t plan on getting any other games to compete with it until I had done just about everything. I stuck with it for 503 moons.

I had a lot of fun and got a ton of it done, but the darker side of the moon got the best of me. I feel like I beat my head against it every night for nearly a week to no avail. Despite the time I’d put in, I was no match for the last stage of Mario’s Odyssey.

That was months ago now, and other games have come and gone. My wife recently decided to start playing Odyssey and is having a great time getting back into games. She rarely plays them, but Mario Odyssey set its hooks in her. She’s nearly 300 moons in and not letting up. With her playing so much right in front of me, I had to get back into it for another try at the darker side of the moon.

I beat it my third attempt.

I hadn’t even seen the entire level the last time I was playing through. I know I’ve only gotten worse since it’s been months, but the puzzles and elements just made more sense. I remembered trying to do parts in ways that didn’t make sense this time through. After giving up on it months ago, it felt weird to finish the stage with relative ease.

It, like so many other moments in gaming, reminded me of Dark Souls. The first time I beat the original Dark Souls game, I had stayed up until around 4am the night before fighting against the final boss, Gwyn, the Lord of Cinder. I finally relented and headed to bed. I got back to it at around 7:30am and finished him off in a handful more attempts. He is regarded as a rather simple boss over the course of the game, being that he’s basically a burnt out and fading god. I was just too frustrated and tired to read his choreographed attacks and patterns.

I’m not sure what happened with the darker side of the moon, as I was trying it day after day, but I’m sure stubbornness had a role in it. In a segment near the end with those colorful little fuzzball burrbos and pulse beams that shoot out circles of fire, I remember trying to use the pulse beams to clear the burrbos. Going back, it’s really tricky to avoid both, so just taking out the burrbos with my hat made much more sense. I don’t think I even considered that before. Also, I definitely had to look up what those enemies proper names are.

It was interesting to see how much simpler the level looked with a fresh new perspective. There’s a life lesson in here of course, but I think it’s more about playing Dark Souls.

The Pro Controller Got Me Into Splatoon 2

spaltoon 2 nintento switch pro controller 1

I pre-ordered Splatoon 2 given the great things I’d heard about the original game. Like so many, I never had a Wii U and missed out on it. I was into it for a bit. I played through the first few SplatFests and had a great time. It was nice to have a competitive “shooter” experience on my new console. I didn’t stick with it for long though. There was a ton coming out on the Switch and there was something that wasn’t hooking me into Splatoon.

It was the joy-cons.

Continue reading “The Pro Controller Got Me Into Splatoon 2”

Finally Switching My Nintendo Switch

nintendo switch golf story 1
I thoroughly enjoyed Golf Story’s sense of humor

Indie Games Perfectly Pair with Portability

Needless to say, I was excited when I got my hands on a Nintendo Switch a few short months ago. I loved the versatility of it being both a home console and a portable. I then proceeded to play about 120 hours of Legend of Zelda, with only around 5 of those hours being as a portable. It was a similar breakdown for both Mario Kart Deluxe and Splatoon 2. The experiences just felt too grand for the small screen, especially in Hyrule. I wasn’t sure if the portable mode would always be just a novelty for me, until the flood of indies started arriving. Continue reading “Finally Switching My Nintendo Switch”

Nintendo Switch Updated Thoughts

Rumor has it that the new Mario is the bundled game…

Games, Specs, and Switch Speculation

The Nintendo Switch has been all over news outlets since its unveiling, and for good reason. It’s not that often that a completely new console is released, especially after all of the speculation around its reveal.  New console releases could be even more rare in the future as Microsoft and Sony focus on iterative console upgrades. Here’s a wrap up of the most important rumors that have come out since its unveiling and some of my thoughts on Nintendo’s future console.

There were rumors swirling for months about some of the best games on the Wii U being ported to the Switch to give it a ton of must have games in the first few months out of the gate. From the reveal trailer, and some other rumors that have spread since, that seems to be the case. There is hearsay everywhere about the first 6 months of the Nintendo Switch release being loaded with releases, most of which seem to be first party.

Although Nintendo has since confirmed that the video on the trailer is simulated, that could safely be assumed anyway, there’s a decent chance that Nintendo wants all of those titles to be released on the Switch eventually. To make the deal even sweeter, both Mario Kart and Splatoon featured elements in the trailer that are not included in the Wii U versions. It seems that we’re looking at enhanced versions of the best the Wii U had to offer on the Nintendo Switch.

Publishing partners for the Nintendo Switch

Specifics About the Switch’s Screen and Dock

There’s been a ton of speculation, the biggest being about the screen and the dock. It has been well substantiated that the screen is in fact a touch screen, has 720p resolution, and seems to be the same size as the Wii U gamepad’s at 6.2″. The reveal trailer hints that the company doesn’t want their device to be categorized with other tablets and mobile gaming, as they didn’t show off the touch screen at all. Nintendo has also come out and directly stated that the dock does not house any additional processing power. It remains a mystery as far as the output resolution between the 720p device screen and a likely higher resolution tv screen.  It could still upscale the image from the Switch tablet to a more suitable size for a tv screen. This basically eliminates the possibility of true 4K gaming on the Switch, it’s a good thing I don’t give a shit because…

Nintendo has Always Done More with Less

Nintendo has never been about the hardware. Despite the fact that their hardware has been considered underpowered for generations, they still kick out some of the best looking and smoothest running console games because they are so well optimized. I’m not hardcore about resolution or framerates, and it’s unrealistic to expect mind blowing graphics from a mobile device like the Switch, but I’m confident the games will look damn good. There are some serious lookers on the Wii U, and the Switch will almost certainly be a graphical upgrade from that. I’m a PC gamer, but my PC is a small form factor box that barely outpaces the current consoles and I’m more than happy with how my games look and run.

I love it. I got to play it. I will tell you – well, maybe that’s an N.D.A. thing. One of the best demos I’ve ever seen. Probably the best demo I’ve ever seen. At E3.

There is definitely a lot of hype around the console, but there are people who are critical of the idea as well. Can the Switch be great at any one thing if it is trying to do some many drastically different functions? There are obvious concerns about battery life along with the power of a portable console, and there isn’t too much hard evidence on the matter. One thing that just came out is that Bethesda’s Todd Howard is a fan, stating in an interview with Glixel, “I love it. I got to play it. I will tell you – well, maybe that’s an N.D.A. thing. One of the best demos I’ve ever seen. Probably the best demo I’ve ever seen. At E3.”

I think it’s pretty telling that, despite the brief mention of the Switch, it’s still the first topic noted tin the title. Theirs is a lot of excitement brewing and I cannot wait to learn more.

Obligatory Nintendo Switch Post


Today has been an exciting day for gamers. It began with the official reveal of the codename “Nintendo NX” as the Switch and then continued with the reveal trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2. Let’s take a closer look at the Nintendo Switch.

First of all, you’ll quickly discover that I’m pretty excited about their new console, its exactly the type of concept I was hoping for with all of the leaked information and will get me back to playing some Nintendo games.  The Switch is a modular gaming console intended to function both as a home console and as a portable console for gaming the go, all with the same performance and game library. Because of Nintendo’s unique approach to this console, just about every feature is unique to the Switch.

The form factor is a tablet like device in its most basic form. That is where the relate able features end though. It seems like the tablet’s screen is not touch sensitive from the reveal trailer as they show no one using touch inputs, so that makes it different from anything in the tablet space. The way that you interact with it is through the Nintendo Switch’s unique controllers. Firstly, the controllers, pictured above, are not tradition in any way, but can be attached to a sort of grip secondary device to form a more tradition gamepad with a layout not too far from a Xbox One gamepad, albeit with a significant square frame in the middle. This is the home console controller for when you have the device hooked up to the big screen.


You can then remove the 2 input sections from the grip and attach them to the sides of the tablet to make it an all in one device. This is where the portable aspects of the console come in. While on the go, you can also use a kickstand on the tablet to set it up on any flat surface and then detach the controllers so you can sit back and play. Here they look a bit like the Wii-mote and nunchaku without a cord attaching them to each other. A great aspect along with this is that the controllers seem to be identical, and when using them you simply hold one upside down so one controller favors buttons and the other a joystick, just like when they’re attached to the tablet or controller grip. But, because they’re identical, you can also hand one over to a friend and play together, as demoed with the new Mario Kart.

When you want to play at home, there’s a docking station that you just hook the tablet into to switch the video to your tv. It seems like gameplay seamlessly can be continued after docking it or after removing it from the dock. From there, you  can either take the detachable controllers off to play with them standalone or attach them to the controller grip. If you want a more traditional gamepad, there’s also a home controller that looks just like the old Xbox 360 controller. Nintendo has stated that the games will all preform identically whether you’re playing on the tablet or on your TV, but haven’t released anything about the display resolution of the tablet’s screen.


The reveal trailer also showed off a ton of software, likely due to the post launch woes of the Wii U. The games displayed featured some of Nintendo’s heaviest hitters like Splatoon, Mario Kart and of course Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but they also prominently display the Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. This is Nintendo speaking to consumers who are worried about 3rd party support. To further show developer support, they also showed a group playing EA’s NBA 2k16 (probably) with 4 players across two consoles that were linked wirelessly. I’m huge on couch co-op, but its often neglected in favor of online multiplayer in the current gaming environment, so it’s nice to see that it’s still a focus at Nintendo. Although, requiring 2 consoles to play 4 player local is an interesting move.

That brings me to my next point. Nintendo hasn’t given us any details outside of the release date listed at the end of the video. The video of 4 players playing with 2 consoles gives me the idea that it will be rather affordable though. Nintendo usually focuses on making their hardware approachable price-wise  and this seems like it will follow that trend, although it looks to be a more premium device than either the Wii or Wii U as far as build quality. It might not require 2 consoles for 4-player action, they might’ve just been showing off the portable multiplayer functionality though. If the modular do-anything nature of the device is any hint though, we’ll probably have a ton of options with the Nintendo Switch.

The last thing that really sticks out is that there were no kids in the trailer. Everyone showed playing the console is a young professional looking person, likely the crowd that grew up with the original Nintendo. They’re banking on nostalgia, just like with the upcoming NES Classic, and I have no problem with that.

All Images and Video courtesy of Nintendo