A Week in the Life of a 40-Year-Old Gamer: March 4-10, 2016


1. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (WiiU): $64.49

YTD Total: $433.98


Screenshot (58)

1. Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright (3DS): 7h 26m

2. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (WiiU): 7h 3m

3. Street Fighter V (PS4): 2h 9m

4. Mega Man (NES): 2h 6m

5. The Order: 1886 (PS4): 1h 41m

6. Super Mario World (SNES): 1h 31m


I began digging more deeply into the side content in Fire Emblem Fates (3DS) this week…. PVP matches, town building, DLC content, etc. A few thoughts on this:

fire emblem top down

  1. The PVP matches are a great way to bring back friends who have died, if you are playing in Classic Mode. If you win PVP events, you can choose to ‘take’ one of your opponent’s soldiers as a prize. This allowed me to bring Silas back on my team. He was already leveled up by the other player, and I was able to continue to advance him. The one key thing is that he does not get re-integrated into the narrative. From a story standpoint, the character is still dead. He is locked out of the relationship building part of the game. That’s the trade off, but it’s a fair one, and a smart way to let you play Classic Mode without having character loss be too great a tactical penalty.
  2. Building in towns is instantaneous… no Bravely Default-style timers. The town mode offers a well-paced feeling of progression, and like a lot of mobile build/battle games, you want to think strategically about how and where you place buildings and obstacles. You can change themes: I switched from a forest to a desert setting with a single button press, altering the look of every building and patch of land.
  3. DLC content is well-crafted, and it will kick your ass. You get full story beats with character dialogue, new environments to battle in, and new weapons to win.  It’s been good value for the price.

This week, I have been restarting (or going back to earlier saves) a lot in Fire Emblem Fates, because now I’m losing lots of key characters in missions. For instance: One side quest wiped out my entire party, except for Corrin, Azura and Saizo. Was I willing to lose nearly an hour of play progression by reverting back to an earlier save? Sure, if it would bring my friends back. I mean, Superman did it in his 1978 movie, and that was just for Margo Kidder.  In fairness, restarting has some real advantages from a learning perspective… you begin to better understand traps and patterns, and how to avoid/exploit them. I wish I was good enough (or at least brave enough) to continue into the late game content without restarts. But as it stands, holding down L and R while pressing START has become a fair option when my army’s death count gets too high.

link world


I have mixed feelings about The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (WiiU). The facelift is well done, but the net effect is that it now looks like a PS3 game instead of a GameCube game. It just doesn’t hold up graphically when put next to any other 1st-Party WiiU release. To be fair, the crusty aesthetic doesn’t make the game any less fun to play. Moving the camera with a second analog stick is very freeing, as is having the option to play entirely off-screen. It’s also really handy to have the map on the controller screen when you’re playing on the TV.

Twilight Princess HD is a strangely paced game at the start:

1. It took more than three hours of play before Link put on his legendary green garb.

2. The wolf stages are fun, but not on par with the “traditional Link” sequences, and they go on for a looong time.

3. A frustrating forty minutes of my last play session was spent looking for a bridge stolen by enemies. That is a really weird object to have to scavenge for, and it looks nothing like a bridge when it’s placed vertically in the environment, making it easy to miss.

But man, the dungeons sequences are great. The mix of action and puzzle solving is perfect. I always feel like I’m on the verge of figuring out how to get through the next step in the sequence, which is exhilarating. I have only gotten through the first dungeon in this HD re-issue, but I did complete the game when it was originally released on Wii, and a flood of great dungeon memories came back to me as I was finishing off the Forest Temple.

I’m OK with the retail price of Twilight Princess HD. It comes out to like a dollar an hour of fun, and that Midna amiibo is awesome.  It’s not as pretty as The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker on WiiU, but it’s actually a much richer game from a content perspective, and it’s totally worth replaying if you enjoyed it back in the day.

I just recently finished Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis) on my 3DS. And now, I’m playing through Super Mario World (SNES) on my 3DS. Both games are great. Both hold up. I understand why so many people think Super Mario World is the better of the two games, but Sonic the Hedgehog is still the winner of this match-up to me. Perhaps it was a right time, right place thing…  I played Sonic the Hedgehog first, in 1991, at a time when the novelty factor of a 16-bit machine was high. “Genesis does what Nintendo’t”, and all that. Besides, after playing Sonic, Mario seemed so pokey.

Screenshot_(34).thumb.png.550c104deb427bfc373075e785bedc51Continuing the retro front, I got to Dr. Wily in the original Mega Man (NES), thanks to the 3DS Mega Man Legacy Collection. The core structure of this game is so solid, it’s no wonder there have been so many sequels. It’s an engineering feat for any team to get so many things right the very first time. The power-ups really do feel like big upgrades (particularly lightning – I love that ability). And the graphical style, while simple, is so, so good. Every stage feels different, and every boss has a distinct personality. I can’t wait to move along to Mega Man 2, still my favorite in the series.


While it’s been a very Nintendo-focused week of play, I did have a few fun nights on PS4 with both The Order: 1886 and Street Fighter V. If one were to compare The Order: 1886 to Uncharted 3, it’d be like comparing In ‘N Out to Morton’s Steakhouse. But that’s not a bad thing. Sometimes, a good burger is exactly what you want, and part of the appeal is how familiar the taste is. The Order: 1886 is all muscle, no fat. There is no time wasted collecting junk, no characters to upgrade, and there’s never a second path to explore. It’s just single-player fire-fights and gorgeous cut scenes for eight hours or so. The trick to appreciating the game is not to binge on it. I’ve been playing only one mission per-play-session, so the repetitive combat has been less onerous to me than it was to critics.


Street Fighter V is an utter anomaly for me – a PVP game that I love. I normally prefer not having people in my game, particularly when they are out to kick my ass. But in this game, I welcome it. I can lose myself for hours at a time with this one, and actually have to set an alarm to make sure I stop playing at a reasonable hour. Everyone has that “just one more try” game that is almost impossible to put down once you start… Street Fighter V is mine. I’m glad I’m not paying a quarter-per-play, arcade-style, or I’d go broke.


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