Nintendo’s “Nindies” Sure Look Promising (or, If I Only Had a Switch)

When it comes to the Nintendo Switch, I’ve been in the “don’t need, don’t want” camp since day one. Or, at least, that’s where I thought I had firmly planted myself until a couple months back when Nintendo released its “Nindies” Summer Showcase. Seeing it made me, for the first time, question my decision, which I wrote about here on Virtual Bastion. After all, Mario and Zelda aside, it’s hard to ignore such a fun line-up of games. And…and I’m only human goshdarnit!


PAX West wrapped up earlier this week, and from it came a slew of game announcements. High among the highlights that caught my attention was Nintendo’s Summer Nindies Showcase, which featured several independent game titles that will be coming to the Nintendo Switch. In a mere twenty minutes, Nintendo packed in a dazzling array of familiar names and new faces. Check out the full showcase below.

Now the only problem is that I don’t have a Nintendo Switch! So the question I have to ask is: does this sway me towards getting one? I have to admit that I’ve so far been in the “pass” camp when it comes to the Switch. Not only do I not need another game console right now, but Nintendo and I have been on the outs lately. I don’t have much need to play games on the Wii U these days, and any desire…

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Tricks, Treats, and Feats: Old look vs. new style in The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition

October may be over, but I’ve got one more “Tricks, Treats, and Feats” post from Virtual Bastion to share! And this one might be my favorite. 🙂 Because The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition is very special indeed. Not only can you play the game in its beautifully-rendered and updated graphics, but you can also switch to play the game in its original, menu-based form. It’s an amazingly simple trick that elevates the game in allowing players to experience the past and the present together.


Earlier this year, I played The Secret of Monkey Island for the first time. Or, more specifically, I played its “Special Edition,” which featured revamped graphics, music, a voice track, and new hint system.  And what a perfectly splendid time I had. While I’ll admit that I didn’t connect with the game on the same level that I have with other LucasArts games (i.e. Sam & Max), it was still loads of fun. Little did I know at the time that the game held a little trick to invoke a few plaintive and nostalgic “awwwwws.”

While the trick is no big secret now, I stumbled upon it about midway through my playthrough when I accidentally hit the “back” button on my controller. With that, suddenly the game’s graphics changed from smooth to pixelated. Gone was the voice track, replaced by subtitles. And up popped an old-timey menu that was…

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Tricks, Treats, and Feats: Gifting in Dragon Age: Origins

When it comes to the idea of making “friends” in a game, BioWare outdid itself with the gifting system in Dragon Age: Origins. Alright, maybe that’s me being a little fannish, but it was something different in what is, essentially, a straightforward RPG. (Actually, the game is anything but “straightforward,” but you get the idea.) In this Virtual Bastion post, I looked at this at this little trick to getting people to like you (even more) in the game.


If you’ve played even just a few hours of a recent BioWare game, you know that one of the developer’s hallmarks is personal interaction. As a character in one of its games, players are given opportunities to interact with NPCs and teammates to varying degrees, from skin deep to much deeper. The ability to personally interact with the game world around your character turns the game into more than just a matter of winning, or getting from point A to point B to point C in one piece. These interactions can change the way a game is played, inasmuch as they can alter the outcome of the game itself. And with each game or game series, BioWare has provided different means of interaction. In this post, I’ll be looking at of the interactive tricks the team included in Dragon Age: Origins – gift-giving.

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Tricks, Treats, and Feats: Super Mario 64’s 120 Stars

Over on Virtual Bastion, our month-long “Tricks, Treats, and Feats” celebration continues! In this post, I waxed nostalgic on one of my most important gaming feats (if, perhaps, my ONLY gaming feat), obtaining all 120 stars in Super Mario 64. Twas a very special feat!


When The Duck, Hatm0nster, and I were knocking around ideas for our “Tricks, Treats, and Feats” series, a big, personal question stuck in my mind.

“What are my gaming feats?”

Ye olde dictionary describes a “feat” as “an achievement that requires great courage, skill, or strength.”

Inasmuch as strength isn’t really a part of gaming, unless we’re talking mental acuity or physically holding a controller for hours on end, I overlooked that part of the definition. The same went with courage. (Although, with that in mind, perhaps my greatest gaming feat will someday be beating DOOM 3…I just…can’t…) So that left me with “skill,” rightfully a regular aspect of gaming. One needs to develops one’s skills in and with a game in order to beat it. And with the development of skills comes mastery. Have I ever harbored mastery over a game?

After thinking on that for a while…

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Tricks, Treats, and Feats: Getting Mid-Evil in in Fable II

This month on Virtual Bastion, we’re celebrating the fun side of Halloween with our “Tricks, Treats, and Feats” posts! Join us each week as we share some of favorite game stories involving in-game tricks, special items, and grand shows of skills! In my first festive post, I offered up some tips on getting one of my favorite weapons in Fable II: the Maelstrom. It’s an evil, eeeeevil weapon for which one must complete some evil, eeeeevil deeds. (But don’t worry, is eventually forgiven. It’s only a game, after all. 🙂 )


Image captured by Hatm0nster.

Despite its reputation as being a simplistic and middling RPG, Fable II remains, for me, an enjoyable experience. And part of that is due to the inclusion of some interesting…ahem…rewards, if you’re willing to go the extra mile to attain them. One of my favorites is a legendary weapon called the Maelstrom. And the trick to getting it involves the game’s alignment system, along with, well…setting aside one’s inherent good nature.

Fable II expanded upon the original Fable’s simple good/evil alignment system with the addition of four additional trait scales: pure/corrupt, rich/poor, funny/scary, and loved/hated. In the end, however, these additional instances really only affected the hero’s interactions with Albion’s citizenry in the game, and had little to do with any of the side quests. The only exception to this could be the path to obtaining the Maelstrom, which is done through a quest called…

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VB on YT: “Nostalgic Notions” Returns!

As terrible as things might be going with my own attempt at a Let’s Play, Virtual Bastion’s YouTube channel has been soaring! Aaaaaaand…not that I’m patting myself on the back or anything, but…

“Nostalgic Notions” is back! WOOHOO!

(awaits grand flourishes)

(even the crickets are sleeping)


Continue reading “VB on YT: “Nostalgic Notions” Returns!”

Unpacking Shadow of the Colossus [Part 2 of 2]

Following up from last week, this is part 2 of my summary of my first-time experience with Shadow of the Colossus. To ride the roller coaster of emotions, click on over to Virtual Bastion for the full article.


This post contains spoilers! If you’ve not played this game and want to, check back after you’ve done just that. Meanwhile, there’s plenty else to do…like, watch Virtual Bastion on YouTube. This is the second half of what turned out to be a very long article, so click here to read the first half.

The next colossi proves…peculiar. It’s the smallest one Wander’s met so far; he nearly stands eye-to-eye with it. And it looks and moves like a large cat. TL;DR the battle leaves a bad taste. This colossi is more interested in Wander generally, and makes more attack moves, it seems, but I also discover that it’s scared of fire. “Scared” being the key word there, because up until now, I never saw any of the colossi in that light – being scared of Wander? With torches in Wander’s hand, I’m able to push the beast away…

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Unpacking Shadow of the Colossus [Part 1 of 2]

The time I spent with Shadow of the Colossus a few months back can be summed up in one word: conflicted. Most other words escape me now, so here’s part one of my experience with the game, which you’ll find over on Virtual Bastion.


This post contains spoilers! If you’ve not played this game and want to, check back after you’ve done just that. Meanwhile, there’s plenty else to do…like, watch Virtual Bastion on YouTube. This is also the first half of what turned out to be a very long article, so check back next Thursday for the second half.

As Shadow of the Colossus starts to load, which takes considerably longer than anticipated, I’m a little nervous. I’d heard so many good things about this game, and I wonder/worry if I’m bringing along any preconceived notions. But, truth be told, I don’t know a thing about the game expect that it involves giant creatures. No matter what I’ve heard, it’s hard for me to draw any…

My thoughts stop mid-sentence as the opening scene begins. I’m in awe of the gorgeous scenery that brings to mind a watercolor landscape. The music is stunningly…

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