Nintendo Switch launch

Nintendo Switch

I can’t let today pass by without remarking on the release of Nintendo’s brand new console – Nintendo Switch.  I’ve had my eye on this ever since it was announced, and it’s come as a bit of a surprise just how interesting and clever an idea Nintendo has come up with.  Firstly, Nintendo have for many years ruled the handheld market … that cannot be contested.  The 3DS flew off the shelves and it’s various iterations – even in the advent of increasingly powerful mobile phone technology.  However on the home console front, they’ve been failing for a while even after the huge success of the Wii.  Yet now here comes a console that offers the best of both worlds and will attract both types of gamers; those that want to have their gaming on-the-go (I hate that term) and those that prefer the comfort of their sofa and a big screen TV.  Never before has a console offered both and offered it so seamlessly, as the video below will attest:

SwitchI won’t go into detail too much on the various things the Switch can do…I’m sure if you’re at all interested you’ll have read up on the machine already.  What I can give you though is my thoughts on why this is an exciting games system and why Nintendo are luring me back, despite my reservations in the past with Nintendo’s consoles (I had a GameCube, a Wii and a Nintendo DS back in the day).  It has a feel from what I’ve seen and read of a great secondary console.  It’s not rubbing shoulders with Xbox or PlayStation (something Nintendo has avoided for years) and has it’s own identity.  Plus I’ve really missed Nintendo’s game design.  Nothing on a PS4 or XB1 plays quite like Mario or Zelda.  There is a unique and stylish charm to their characters, and yes I have sometimes even looked to the ill-fated Wii U with jealousy because it still had those games.  However that machine had little to separate it from the Wii, whose motion-control gimmick faded with time and so it was clear Nintendo had to revise it’s approach to console design.  Therefore I’d say the Switch has delivered sort of a ‘best of Nintendo’ this time around in a well-designed and attractive package.  Only time will tell if the games can live up to the machine’s potential, if 3rd party publishers support it the way they do Sony & Microsoft.


I hope to get one at some stage myself and will report more on the machine when I’ve actually spent some time with it.  Until that day comes let’s send congratulations to Nintendo on the launch of their new console and wish them plenty of success in the future.  I think it’s their turn, don’t you?

Love is…

A cold beer, good company and a copy of Mario Kart Wii.

Do excuse me, but this has to be one of the most fun games I have played in a long time.  The crowning glory has to be the joyous implementation of the Wii Wheel, simply a beautifully molded piece of plastic with the celebrated Wii-remote wedged in the middle – but suddenly all your joyous fantasies of how Mario kart could be perfected are realised!  Add to this 3 friends (or if u feel the need, take it online!!), and near pandemonium ensues!!!

The genius course design, the top-notch graphics, the memorable tunes, the unforgettable characters, drifting, jump-tricks, mushrooms, rockets – oh, the list goes on and on!!!

Just go out and get this immediatly – and dare I say it, if u have no Wii – go and get one for this game!

My niece on Mario Kart Wii

Why videogames are good for you!

(Image: MarkyBon Flickr)

Over the years, the videogame industry has come in for a lot of criticism as being a bad influence and detrimental to our society. Despite their growing popularity and the advent of high street retailers like Game Station and Game in almost every town – many people will still have you believe that playing videogames are the route of all evil.

Now in some ways I see the point when playing games for an excessively long time could lead to antisocial behaviour, aggressiveness, weight gain etc – and in extreme circumstances influence already unhinged members of society who may find violent games (Grand Theft Auto, Gears of War, Manhunt) an easy outlet – or even an excuse.

Yet in many games today (and to some extent in the past also) there is an element of problem solving, puzzles (Zak & Wiki, Brain-Training) and the requirement to have good reflexes – just try playing Ikaruga without decent eye-to-hand co-ordination, and see how far you get. Games such as Half-Life 2 are as much about figuring out puzzles (in this case, use of gravity, weight, water etc) to get from A-B, as they are shooting bad-guys, that elevate it from similar games that may be just about bashing buttons or blowing shit up.

Now when playing some games that get you thinking your way out of a given situation, you are therefore using your brain – and this has to serve some good, especially during younger development and at an older age, and anywhere in between really – and when you take for example Nintendo’s celebrated Wii console, some element of physical fitness comes into play, and that a round of Wii Sports can get rather tiring, therefore must be helping you in someway physically – you may loose weight if u play enough of it.

Now also consider the social element, be it gaining an army of friends through online gaming or in the case of the Wii involving members of the family who would never normally show interest. It can bring people together – Wii Sports (again), Guitar Hero, Eye Toy, Buzz, and any game involving a dance-mat.

Some may argue that watching films or reading a book is much better for you – but these forms of media have come in for similar criticism and accused of influencing people in all the wrong ways, such as Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers and J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. But unlike movies and books – you have a say in what happens in a game, you have a more fully rounded experience – more emotions and physical reflexes come into play – of course to fully benefit from any of this depends on the person’s ability or enjoyment – but then you could say that about anything.

So to close kids, anything done in excess is bad for you – television, alcohol, sports, videogames – but in moderation, and with other activities in your life – I believe playing games can improve your reflexes, keep the old grey matter working efficiently and even keep you fit – and in some ways educate you about world events and history (see the wealth of World War 2 games available) – now surely, that can’t be a bad thing.

Further reading:

BBC article 1

BBC article 2

USA Today article

The Register article

Super Mario Galaxy

Nintendo Wii

 Well on first impressions, Nintendo have done it again, with a beautifully realised game world, consisting imaginatively of various small planets / galaxies that have u controlling the iconic Plummer and defying gravity in a new spin on a well-worn formula.

Although surprisingly easy on first inspection, the game’s depth comes from the superb replayability and wealth of secrets just waiting to be discovered – and the game play is both clever and familiar, with impressive use of the Wii’s motion sensitivity throughout. 


Definitely the sharpest, most impressive Wii game to date, both visually and sonically, with memorable music, great sound effects and a wonderful attention to detail in every pixel.

Whether this can compare to epic Mario of yesteryear, such as Super Mario World or especially Mario 64, only time will tell – but after several days, this is fiendishly inventive, addictive and above all else – great fun.