Tag Archives: Nintendo

Super Nintendo Entertainment System…Classic Edition!


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Image result for Donkey Kong Country

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) was my favorite console as a kid.  I was so fortunate to play some of the greatest games Nintendo ever created during the 90s.  Games like Super Mario Bros. All Stars Edition, Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario Kart, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Mega Man X were what made the SNES such a timeless console.  Some of these games are so good that they are even better than some of the new titles out now (I’d bring out my SNES over playing games on the PS4 ANY day!).

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Lately Nintendo has been riding the wave of success with the Nintendo Switch released in March.  The Nintendo Switch has been selling out like crazy and they’re expecting to hit major sales during the holiday season.  As an added bonus, that’s just one of many surprises Nintendo has up their sleeves for this year.

Image result for SNES Classic Edition

Image result for SNES Classic Edition

Nintendo recently announced that a SNES Classic Edition is coming out this fall!  The SNES Classic Edition, similar to the NES version, will feature over 21 titles pre-installed inside the console.  Some of the nostalgic titles being pre-installed include EarthBound, Donkey Kong Country, Star Fox, Super Punch-Out, Yoshi’s Island, and much more.  90s gamers will have to be patient because the SNES classic edition hits the shelves on September 29th at $79.99.

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Image result for Star Fox SNES

As an added bonus, Nintendo will include the unreleased title Star Fox 2 to the mix.  Star Fox 2 was the sequel to Star Fox that was created for the console, but was never released to the public.  So not only will 90s gamers get to replay the nostalgic title on the SNES, but they’ll FINALLY get to play Star Fox 2 this fall!

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What’s intriguing is that this isn’t the first time Nintendo pushed this branding strategy out to their audience.  Nintendo saw major success with their NES Classic Edition (read more about that here) during the holiday season last year.  80s/90s nostalgic gamers rushed to the stores to snag their NES Mini console.  It was a brilliant strategy to keep Millennial/Gen X gamers back into the mix.

Image result for SNES 1990s

Image result for SNES 1990s

This was so exciting to hear!  I loved playing games on the SNES and it’s going to be so great to be able to play them again.  It’s been hard to pencil in time to play some video games (what with my busy schedule and all!), but I would definitely go back to playing the system again.  The SNES console was what made Nintendo take off as an amazing video game brand.  Sure, the Nintendo Switch has been doing fantastic so far this year, but I always think back to the golden years with the SNES.

Image result for SNES Classic Edition

Image result for SNES Classic Edition

I consider myself a 90s gamer and am really looking forward to seeing the SNES Classic Edition in stores this fall.  Hopefully I’ll find the time and money to get the console to relive the golden years of video gaming.  The Nintendo Switch may be out now, but I’m holding off for the Super Mario Odyssey game coming out in the winter (it’s pretty much one of the ONLY reasons for why I’d get the Nintendo Switch!).  Either way, we can all look forward to playing the nostalgic 90s titles once the SNES Classic Edition hits stores everywhere.

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Be sure to look out for the SNES Classic Edition when it releases on September 29th!

RetroBlox: The Future of Retro Gaming


One of the cool perks of owning a video game console was storing them in a video game library in your room.  Having all of those games was a great way to show off your collection to your friends that come over for the day.  Whether it was the old school Super Nintendo or going modern with the PS4, it felt accomplishing to store all those treasured games into your organized library.

Back when I was living in Ipswich, I had a plethora of games stacked into a huge bookcase.  I had titles that were for consoles such as the PS2, Super Nintendo, Wii U GameCube, PS3, Wii, and other systems.  It felt riveting knowing that I had a library of games to choose from on a rainy, mundane day.

Since moving into Lynn, my gaming consoles have scattered around in boxes.  I do have most of my games, but I doubt that most of them work these days (or the console for that matter!).  It sucks that my library of games could become useless if the console breaks.  Now that we’re settled into 2017, I wonder if there will be a new console built to play all of those nostalgic games.

Well folks, I just came across an awesome find that answered my question.  Allow me to introduce to you…the RetroBlox!  RetroBlox is the first modular HD retro-gaming console, becoming the next step to a “one console” future of video games.  The RetroBlox console provides a small slot up top for the retro game cartridges that would play titles from systems such as NES or Sega Genesis.  Besides the slot, it also includes a disc drive that would be compatible with CD-style titles from systems like the PS1.

The versatile gaming experiences work through the Element Modules provided.  The concept is simple: insert the type of module you want, plug in a game to play, and then add that game to your personal collection or play through the cartridge/CD.  Each Module is specifically crafted for each console to play on.

All of the games provide an amazing user interface that provides 1080p HD picture quality.  Instead of scrolling through texts to find a game, the interface showcases the art and personality of every game in HD.  Not only will you be able to play these games, but you will see them in their original box format!

Besides the retro-style concept, the RetroBlox also allows you to connect with peers and share your gaming experience.  You can share screenshots and videos to show off to your friends Facebook or Twitter.  Better yet, you can stream your favorite games on Twitch!

No other news has been announced about the console, but it will be hitting Kickstarter on Spring 2017.  Be on the lookout for the RetroBlox on Kickstarter when the campaign starts.  It definitely looks like a revolutionary idea for the ultimate nostalgic gaming experience.

This sounds like an awesome console!  I love the idea of purchasing one console that would play a majority of old-school titles.  It is definitely something I would fund money into because I want to play all of my old games again.  Some of the new games look amazing, but I am definitely a nostalgic gamer these days.

Here’s to hoping that the RetroBlox kicks off with a huge hit!  This would become a great console for the Millennials/Generation X’ers audience that grew up playing these classic titles.  Nostalgic gaming has been the latest trend the past few years with the release of the Sega Mega Drive Classics Hub (more on this here) and the Nintendo NES Classic Edition (read about this console here).  If the nostalgic gaming trend continues this year, then the RetroBlox should take off big time.

If all goes well, the future of the one-console gaming concept could be lurking right around the corner.  Let’s hope the future comes in sooner than later!

 

MakeSandcastlesNotWar’s Exclusive Look at Super Mario Odyssey


Back in October 2016, Nintendo revealed a trailer for the Nintendo Switch.  The Nintendo Switch is their newest hybrid home console that is set to be released on March 3rd.  Its unit is shaped similarly to a tablet computer and features two detachable controllers called Joy-Con.  Joy-Con can be used individually or attached to a grip for the more traditional game pad form.

Halfway through the trailer we see someone playing a new Mario game.  Mario was seen jumping and hopping through this desert world, avoiding a bullet bill that was heading his way.  No news was found about what the new Mario game would be…until NOW!

Mario’s new adventures will continue onto the Nintendo Switch with the new title Super Mario OdysseySuper Mario Odyssey is the 7th 3D platformer within the Super Mario series and will also return to the more freeform level design that was previously used in Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario 64.  Here’s some first-impressions notes I got from viewing the trailer:

Mario takes on the Big Apple

The trailer starts with Mario leaping up from a drainpipe in what looks like a NYC-inspired area.  Taxi cabs are driving through the streets and regular people are walking around the sidewalk.  Mario jumps from the taxi cab to the swing onto the lamp post.  We also see his infamous wall-kick moves as he leaps from building-to-building to reach a ledge.  He climbs walls and runs down to the helicopter pad area, where a big flying contraption sends him off to his next destination.

From Urban to Desert

We see Mario’s contraption land into a secluded desert town, performing a rolling move down the sandy path (FYI, this was the same town shown in the Nintendo Switch trailer back in October!).  He leaps up from an umbrella to collect six pink triangles.  Not sure what their significance is, but they’re DEFINITELY important collectibles!

Frolicking in the Forest

Another world in Super Mario Odyssey takes Mario into a cool, damp forest area.  At one point, he runs through a flowery path that leads him around a hollow tree.  We also get a glimpse of Mario swimming through some water (a green pipe can be seen near where the water is flowing!).

World of Veggies

 Next world we see is full of large vegetables sprouting up everywhere.  Mario carries a large turnip within the world (this feature of picking up turnips date back to Super Mario Bros. 2 for NES!).  We see a glimpse of a Hammer Bro throwing hammers at Mario while he dodges two Spinies crossing his path.  Mario’s contraption takes off and steers him towards his next destinations (NYC-esque city, desert town, forest, vegetable world).

Bowser Returns!

In the newest chapter of Mario’s adventures, Bowser returns once again!  Bowser is looking to celebrate a royal wedding with Peach, but Peach just isn’t having it.  Mario must now save Peach from being Bowser’s wife and prevent the wedding from happening.  It’s been decades since Super Mario Brothers was released and Bowser STILL won’t let go of Princess Peach!

Mario’s Playable Cap

Within the earlier games, Mario’s cap simply served as an accessory for his outfit.  One scene shows Mario entering a ‘Crazy Cap’ shop, only to show off Mario’s new cap skills a few seconds later.  Mario can throw his hat boomerang-style and even use it as a jumping pad to head over to farther distances.  Previous Mario titles have shown him without his hat, but this would be the first game where Mario’s famous cap becomes a gameplay mechanic.

Riding the Lion

Near the end of the trailer, Mario jumps onto a gold lion’s back.  The lion runs through the sand, destroying any enemies that stand in their way.  So far this was only featured in the desert world.  Run like the wind, Mario!

I don’t know about you, but I am DEFINITELY excited for this game!  It’s been a while since I’ve played a good Mario title and I’ll have to check out when it releases.  Nintendo really knows how to promote their brand mascot for each new home console.  Mario may look the same, but a whole new adventure awaits him.  There’s no set date on when the title will be released, but I look forward to finding out more information on it soon.  In the meantime, let’s take this moment to celebrate Mario’s new adventure on the Nintendo Switch!

MakeSandcastlesNotWar’s nostalgic 90s Christmas Gifts


Christmas was one of my favorite holidays of all time when I was a kid.  The weather was getting colder, snow was falling around the Doyon School playground, and all of my friends were talking about what presents they wanted from Santa Claus.  Santa Claus always came to my house in Ipswich and he got me some of the best gifts ever.  What made Christmas even better were the 2-3 week vacations we had from school to celebrate Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.

That was back in the 90s, when things were so much better during my childhood.  Some of my favorite Christmas gifts were from the 1990s (the Super Nintendo, Donkey Kong Country 64, the mini pool table, and even a karaoke machine just to name a few!).  I still get Christmas gifts as I get older, but the magic wasn’t as good as it was 20 years ago.  The 1990s had some of the coolest toys that all of the boys and girls were asking from Santa Claus.  Here were some of the most popular gifts that every boy and girl wanted for Christmas during the 1990s:

Game Boy Color:  Long before kids were playing Angry Birds on their mobile phones, every kid was hooked on the Game Boy Color.  This sleek and pocket-sized console was every gamer’s dream present from Santa.  It was the first portable console that you could play…ANYWHERE (which was a HUGE deal for gamers at the time!).  I’m happy to say that I owned one of these badboys as a kid!

Lite Brite: This was a unique toy where you created colorful designs through little light bulbs.  The Lite Brite made anyone an artist through the template designs that came with the product.  It was the little artistic toy that lit up every child’s room in their home…LITERALLY!

Beanie Babies:  There were some things you COULD get addicted to as a child in the 90s and one of them was collecting Beanie Babies.  Beanie Babies were just as addictive as sugar and we all made it our goal to collect EVERY Beanie Babie on the market.  #LifeGoals!

Dream Phone:  Before people started sexting on their phones, girls were talking to boys on the Dream Phone.  The gist was that there were one of 24 guys that really liked you and you had to call one their friends for clues.  You played a boy’s photo card and called his number on the phone.  Clues were related to the secret admirer’s sports, food, clothes, or special hangouts. Maybe it was that cutie Justin who wants to take you out to see Jurassic Park and for a pizza later.  Oooh!

Tickle Me Elmo:  Tickle Me Elmo will go down as the most popular toy everyone fought over.  All of the hard-working moms pushed and pulled their enemies to grab a Tickle Me Elmo for their children.  It sparked what was known as the 1996 Elmo Craze.  Good job, parents!  You made this Tickle Me Elmo craze a THING that will go down in 90s history.

Sega Genesis/Super Nintendo:  Any self-respecting boy in the 90s knew that they had no friends unless they had either the Sega Genesis or Super Nintendo in their room.  The Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis were the HOTTEST gaming consoles during the holiday season.  I knew I was part of Team Nintendo when I received my Super Nintendo on Christmas in 1994.  There were many horrific memories of whipping my controllers across the room when playing through Super Mario All-Stars.

Sky Dancers: These princesses were both beautiful and fun to play with.  The dolls were hooked onto a pull-string base where you pulled the string and watched your Sky Dancer fly high into the air!  These were initially released during the 1994 Christmas season, thus becoming a success with the audience.  Fly high, young Sky Dancer!

Boombox w/ CDS:  Before we shared music via our IPhone, there were these things called CDs that we had to place into our boom box.  Every guy/girl wanted their own boom box to play their favorite CDs in their room.  It was a time where we jammed out to Nirvana’s Smell Like Teen Spirit and girls dreamed of being a Spice Girl.

Easy-Bake Oven:  It was a simpler time for kids before the internet:  boys hung out and played video games for hours while girls played with the Easy-Bake Oven.  Every girl wanted to get their hands on an Easy-Bake Oven to bake those sprinkled-covered brownies.  I never got to try it myself and ALWAYS wondered if you actually ate the food you made afterwards (seriously, were these REAL treats that you could eat afterward?).

PlayStation:  The PlayStation entered the 1990s-console war in September 9th, 1995.  Sony brought Crash Bandicoot as their answer of a character used to promote the PlayStation.  Crash Bandicoot was one of many popular titles that sparked guys’ interest in the newest console.  It’s been 21 years since the original launch and the PlayStation console is as popular as ever!

Moon Shoes:  Regular boots?  Yuck!  Moon Shoes?  Hell yeah!  The Moon Shoes felt like mini trampolines for your feet, letting you jump with anti-gravity effects.  You couldn’t exactly jump to the moon, but you did jump higher with the springs.  Kids wanted to spring their way into the new year with a pair of Moon Shoes.

Razor Scooter:  Skateboarding and BMX biking were cool, as well as Razor Scooters.  Scooters were popular in the late 90s/early 2000s.  Every kid wanted a Razor Scooter, until the bottom half karate-chopped their shins during their sessions.  Ouch!  No more scootering anymore, time to go inside again to play more Nintendo 64!

Barbie:  Barbie dolls helped girls make friends (as well as enemies) during the 90s.  The Barbie doll had every kind of accessory to choose from.  From being in retail to working as a dentist, Barbie was seen succeeding in any kind of career.  Girls made fast friends in school through Barbie, but they also ran into some enemies that caused them to become green with envy.  Damn you Jessica and your Ultimate Barbie Dream House!  You’re not invited to my Barbie slumber party ever!

Furby:  If we’re going to bring up scary toys, we HAVE to bring up Furby.  Furby was this creepy, furry robot owl that spoke in its own Furby language.  You really had NO idea what it was telling you and it wouldn’t go to sleep.  It seemed like something like out of Gremlins, except there was no way to understand what he/she wanted.  What do you want, Furby?  Food?  Drink? Comfort?  TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT ALREADY!

Yooka-Laylee Flies to the Shelves in April!


Before I started blogging for MakeSandcastlesNotWar, I was busy writing blogposts for PRSSA.  I have written many posts for my school’s PR chapter and the majority of my posts revolve around the theme of entertainment.  One reason for writing blog content was to further my skills in the writing world.  Some of my work made it into the PRSSA blogpost page while others were just written for fun.

One of my writing works I did was on the announcement of Yooka-Laylee being funded on Kickstarter.  Yooka-Laylee was known as a “3D Platformer Rare-vival!” series that was created by Playtonic Games.   The creative talents behind Donkey Kong Country and Banjo-Kazooie worked to create a new platform adventure game featuring Yooka the chameleon and Laylee as a bat.  It featured a dream soundtrack that was composed by gaming music geniuses Grant Kirkhope and David Wise.  Grant Kirkhope is known for composing soundtracks for Banjo-Kazooie, Donkey Kong 64, Banjo-Tooie, and Goldeneye 007.  David Wise is most famous for composing the music score for the Donkey Kong Country trilogy series for the Super Nintendo.

The game eventually hit their pledged goal of £175,000, being backed by over 73,000 users.  This game did so good in Kickstarter that they raised $1,000,000 in only 6 hours!  It was one of the most funded games and broke records on Kickstarter.  It’s been a more than a year since Yooka-Laylee broke records on Kickstarter and now we’re finally getting release date!

Playtonics Games announced that the game will launch on April 11th, 2017.  Yooka Laylee will be released for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Mac, Linux, and Steam.  One minor drawback to be aware of is that the Wii U version is canceled and will instead be released for the Nintendo Switch.  Backers who asked for the Wii U version could either choose another version of the game or wait until the Nintendo Switch version is released.  Regardless of the drawback, it is exciting to see that Yooka-Laylee will be released in Spring 2017!

I am so pumped to get this game next year!  Last year I watched the trailers in the Kickstarter campaign and it looked like an incredible game.  Banjo-Kazooie was one of my all-time favorite games of N64.  This was one of those games I spent countless hours wandering around each world, collecting Jiggys and musical notes along the way.  It was so fun and adventurous that I couldn’t put down the controller, knowing that I was leaving this beautiful gaming world.

Platformer-collecting games were a big trend in the late 90s-early 2000s in the video game industry.  Titles like Banjo-Tooie and Donkey Kong 64 took gamers into a big world that contained lots of collectibles to find.  These collectibles were essential for unlocking a new level or other secret content within the game.  It’s hard to find good platformer-collective games, but Yooka-Laylee is bringing that trend back within their gaming mechanic.

Look out for Yooka-Laylee when it hits the shelves on April 11th!