My top 5 Wii U exclusives (so far)

This article was originally published to Gameluster on April 25th, I have not updated the information from this article to show new developments and new games for the list it remains exactly as originally written. I do plan though to write an updated list towards the end of 2014 with a selection of new games.

It is no secret that the Wii U hasn’t been doing too great in sales unlike Nintendo’s handheld endeavour, but that doesn’t mean the Wii U is a bad console. In fact I would go so far as to say the Wii U is an excellent console, and the standout of the current generation consoles. Nintendo created an excellent control system, but that isn’t all that makes the Wii U so great, it is also the games themselves. I have played many of the games being a day one adopter, and while there are a lot of great multiplatform titles I could include in the following list, for today I want to talk about my top 5 exclusives on the console.

5. Zombi U

Zombi U

For many years the survival horror genre of games has been going downhill, and classic franchises such as Resident Evil which were once praised for their work in the genre have now lost their touch. So enter Ubisoft’s exclusive on the Wii U, Zombi U re-established what the survival horror genre was all about, which is the fear of going around a corner not knowing what awaits you, remaining low on supplies and utilizing whatever you can scavenge and worrying about what sits in the impending darkness. This exclusive did all that and more by utilizing the very essence of the gamepad, the gamepad allowed for panic as you quickly rummaged through it to find what you needed while the game kept going on the TV, it also allowed the player to detect the locations of Zombies which is even scarier when you hear them moaning and constantly hear many beeps on the gamepad. The game is fun and well worth playing, it was just a shame so many people didn’t give it a shot.

4. Lego City Undercover

LegoCityUndercover

TT Games’ Wii U exclusive Lego experience draws alot from the developer’s previous Lego endeavours, but this time comes out with a fresh story and world to play in. A lot of the experience of Lego City undecover is pretty familiar to anyone who has played a Lego game before, from the combat, to the levels, to many other factors this is very familiar, but for its similarities, Lego City Undercover masterfully pulled itself out and stands unique in the name of Lego. For the original story or even just the stupidity in the comedy is why this game holds a special place as one of my best Wii U exclusives, plus the added bonus is that Lego City Undercover is a game that can be enjoyed by anyone. Mostly I enjoyed it for going around and playing a much more fun version of Grand Theft Auto, and following the well-crafted police drama of a story while just smashing up random peoples cars and all around having fun in Lego City.

3. Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze

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My faith in the Donkey Kong Country series has been steadily declining for years, and Donkey Kong 64 was the last game in the series I truly enjoyed, which is half the reason why it is my favourite game of all time (but that is a story for another opinion piece). However I do feel that Retro Studios was finally ready to give the classic character a true return to greatness, and having the power and capabilities of the Wii U it was no wonder. Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze takes a different approach to other games in its genre, and delivers a much more challenging experience, on top of that it shows plenty of diversity between each level you visit and plenty of detail which is hard not to love. Those, alongside the new additions such as multiple sidekick characters, easily help me to see this game as fun and a must play game on the console even if you are only looking for a challenge.

2. Super Mario 3D World

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It would be almost impossible to make a best of list for the Wii U and not include this wonderful gem of a game. After the more or less same style of Mario game we recieved in New Super Mario Bros. U, Super Mario 3D world shows Nintendo still knows how to make a good Mario game. Sure, I will be the first to admit this wasn’t the experience I was expecting from the Wii U’s first three dimensional Mario game, but it didn’t matter, at every turn Super Mario 3D World evokes interest with the addition or return of ideas. At the centre of this game stands incredible and varying level designs set to challenge you and tell you to have fun, then at another point stands the characters you play as which each provide enough difference in their styles that each player gets to enjoy a somewhat difference experience to the other players and enjoy different luxuries in playstyles.

1. Pikmin 3

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Nintendo’s journey into the world of tiny microorganisms and the adventure to save their planet may not be the best game on the Wii U, but by all respects it has to be my favourite out of all the ones I have played. The game often feels like it wants to make you feel guilty about any mistakes you make and they can happen both easily and completely by accident. The key thing that I feel really makes this game one of my favourites on the Wii U is the fact the game never outstays its welcome. From the moment you start you are greeted with a fun adventure filled with strategy, but as fast as it arrives it is all all over. In some games I would consider this a bad thing but for the course of the story the little actions and adventure are great and keep you interested. One final note it is kind of hard to resist the Pikmin as they are adorable.

Picking these five games was not an easy process and I think it is only going to get harder by the end of the year with so many potentially great games just around the corner, so I might have to look into doing this again when that time comes. Even though they didn’t make it into the list I would like to give an honourable mention to Nintendo Land and The Wonderful 101 as they are both great games. I hope you liked my list and picks and thank you for reading.

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Call of Duty is better on Wii U then all other platforms

I know what you are probably thinking, am I out of my mind? How on earth could I possibly think the Wii U versions of Call of Duty games are the best? I am also certain there would be a few unsavoury words thrown around that I probably just don’t want to hear in the slightest. But trust me I have my reasons to suggest why Call of Duty games have never been better then on the Wii U. Sure they have their worse features such as a lack of extra maps like all the other versions get but that is really a small thing and a small price to pay for the ultimate versions of the game.

First before I state my case I must take you on a trip back to the N64, no it is not for Nostalgia it is to make a point about why these games have found the best possible place on the Wii U. Shall we take a trip back to the days of Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64 which is what I shall say is one of the original multiplayer third person shooters. Goldeneye is the game that showed us the potential of shooters as a multiplayer affair, the main problem that existed in the game was that we couldn’t hide where we were in the game as the other person or player could see us on the screen. Of course people did find funny ways to deal with this issue including holding a blanket down the center of the television set but that was just frustrating. Still this little issue never stopped us having fun and people still camped the body armour and I somehow still managed to set up sensor bomb’s at doorways and catch my prey. Still it caused problems for some and did slightly ruin that enjoyment of seeking my prey and finding them without accidentally seeing my opponents screen, but it is only slightly Goldeneye still remains one of the best first person shooters ever made and the best multiplayer shooter.

Goldeneye multiplayer

The same issue that plagued Goldeneye has caused issues in several more shooters and many other games over the years, but more importantly it is the shooters that this is mainly about. Being able to see the other players screen ruins a sense of mystery and the fun of the search in finding out where the other player is hiding and trying to win the struggle against your opponent. Of course this split screen play hasn’t always been an issue for many players of the games, as many of us have been able to shut out the other players side of the screen but games still get frustrating with their smaller screen sizes and the annoying side of still seeing the opponents running around out the corner of your eye.

This frustration has actually limited as time has gone by particularly as the ability of consoles capabilities have allowed us to be able to play against people all the way around the world without ever even leaving the seat of our couch. This ability has made it so we can play on a full screen and still receive the same thrill as we would playing against someone in the same room. For the most part our ability to communicate is accessible via headsets and still we can talk and plan with our fellow players on these games but while that sounds all well and good what about those who can’t afford a headset? We can’t fully immerse ourselves in the game and we may as well be playing alone even if we are aware these are real people.

Either way nothing beats playing a game with other people and having them join you on the couch or just in general to play the game. Being able to joke around with these people, laugh and just all around enjoy your time with someone you actually know, but again the same problem persists of having to share a screen and this is where I finally get back to my point and explain why I think the Wii U makes Call of Duty better and more importantly why Call of Duty has never been better then on the Wii U.

I return to my point of having to share a screen and how annoying that can be, and that is exactly the point that must be made aware of in why the Wii U is best for the game. What the game offers on the Wii U platform is a sense of mystery and in a way a level of enjoyment that is unimaginable on other platform after spending extensive amounts of time on other platforms checking out the way shooters are played in multiplayer I can say without a doubt that the Wii U offers the best way to play. If you have only two people playing there is a bonus of using the Wii U’s Gamepad and the television, one person can easily play on the TV and have a full screen to immerse themselves in meanwhile while the Gamepad screen may be smaller this gives the other player their own screen to play on.

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With this idea it actually creates a series of new ways to play and makes the game more enjoyable for everyone, of course the benefits presented for two players doesn’t exist for three or more as the main screen still has to be shared but the benefits far outway the negatives. The ability of only having two people playing offer new ways to play and are more enjoyable, playing against another person is actually a hunt and presents a challenge to make taking out the other player far more satisfying not knowing where they could be hiding. The idea of the gamepad also adds new gameplay possibilities with a fun but simple game of hide and seek which allows one player to hide and the other to seek them out and it is completely fun and offers enjoyment that can’t be found on any other version of Black Ops 2 or Ghosts.

It is for this reason that I state that Call of Duty is best on the Wii U and for that matter shooters themselves would be quite well benefitted by using this same approach in the future and creating a far better game than what can be made on other platforms. I have never found that same sense of enjoyment on online matches as I do facing down someone I know and being able to laugh and discuss with the person sitting next to you, not to mention the air of mystery and enjoying the game itself is just easier with the Wii U version and even if you have more then two people to play the game taking turns would be far more satisfying then anything else. Call of Duty is at its best on the Wii U and call me crazy but it is easy to see just for the way the game can be played and for the fun that awaits.

 

 

Simon’s Thoughts – How DLC could benefit the Pokemon franchise

Downloadable content or DLC as many of you seem to prefer has become an increasing staple in the video game industry, the extra content provided by this feature has allowed games to further expand and tell an extended story of past, present and future as well as offering additional gameplay for people who enjoy multiplayer with the additions of new maps in games such as Call of Duty. The addition of this content has on occasion made games better but in a sense it has made games feel incomplete, this has come down to how the players of these games feel like they’re playing a game that the developers were rushed to finish and so this content had to be made. Now in my thoughts I am not considering that Game Freak should just release a game Gym by Gym for the sake of releasing a game faster, that would not be worth it and would upset a lot of long time fans instead I would actually suggest that we can extend the long time enjoyment of the games by the use of DLC and I will tell you why.

One of the biggest problems that I often find in Pokemon games is post game content, the games for the most point lack any form of extra content beyond the story and that can quickly lead to a level of disappointment for those like myself who tend to enjoy the story of the game and enjoy the adventure of the game more so than the online content. Some of us are not very good when it comes to raising really tough Pokemon and so that is why we enjoy our adventure, the game never forces us to have a Pokemon with maximum EV’s or Effort values in order to beat an enemy trainer and the world is free for us to just explore, it is at these points I do consider the importance of DLC and the positive effects it can have on the gamer.

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The one thing that I have often thought is wrong with the Pokemon games is the lack of story given throughout the world, sure we have our main premise point new trainer gets a Pokemon, he or she travels around the region battling a series of gym leaders all in the mean time stopping a major criminal organization with their own evil or misguided goals. While these ideas have worked for all these years I still think that there are many more stories that can be told in this world then the games actually tell and the many towns of the game along with the residents that reside there could be major parts of telling said story. Even if the developers did not want to have this as part of the main game due to time constraints DLC could be a helpful factor in expanding the world and bringing greater depth. A whole lot of the areas presented in Pokemon games feel unnecessary to the core game and it is sad that they can build these worlds but the developers never really try to prompt more than one visit to a wide number of places and DLC could bring the opportunity to really give these towns a voice and maybe even expand on the original map with selected new areas that the player can freely visit at any time once the story element set there is completed.

I also reckon DLC could help in really exploring the ideas of Pokemon and some of their abilities to provide new ideas and a whole new sense of adventure. I reference the Pokemon television series and Ash’s adventure in the Sinnoh region, in one of the episodes Ash and his friends encounter a Mismagius that hypnotizes them and places them in a world of their dreams where they finally achieve their goals. I think Game Freak could expand upon this content from the Pokemon television series into the games to really give a further sense of adventure for the Pokemon and with this example get put n a world similar to that of Mad Hatters in Batman Arkham Origins where Batman is in a fantasy world reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. But there are several stories Game Freak could tell with a varying number of Pokemon to really bring to mind just how unique each one is and expand upon the knowledge of the world.

Celebi_anime

Likewise Game Freak could also use DLC as a way to help get legendary Pokemon and actually make it mean something. As we know through the general story of the Pokemon games we often encounter a small selection of legendary Pokemon tied to the story of the game such as title legendaries, including Pokemon such as Dialga in Pokemon Diamond and Palkia in Pokemon Pearl. Outside of this there is only really a smaller selection that really work as part of the games story others all exist outside of the story and even outside of the games and we must wait for the events to receive a special Pokemon that I have always felt bored by just receiving and I feel that they should create a story expanding on these Pokemon. Just receiving a single Pokemon from an event does not provide that same sense of satisfaction as managing to finally capture that elusive legendary that you have chased for so long such as Latios and Latias. So providing a story of some kind through the use of DLC could really help bring satisfaction to receiving these special Pokemon, I am not concerned about extra areas though that would be really nice for bringing special means to these Pokemon. I have actually joked that for many years I thought they should bring Celebii into the main Pokemon games and they could create an interesting area for it to exist such as something called Celestial Tower where time has been completely frozen similar to parts of the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Explorers games.

Of course I have noted that there is is an issue with my ideas DLC would cause some problems in a sense of the game and could be hard to implement with the basic individual structure of everyone’s game but the ideas are there. Still it is in an option but it seems unlikely that Game Freak would ever implement these ideas even though it would help. I still think either way Game Freak should find a way to extend on the end game and even perhaps build a full story beyond the Pokemon League. But again this is where the DLC idea could work and make the games better for everyone and provide a more full and longer experience outside of playing online against others and that in itself would be well worth to improve everything. What are your thoughts on the subject let me know?

My week in games

I have always felt like it is a great thing to be able to talk about my games and what I have spent my week playing. Of course this week I haven’t had much else to so having hurt my foot so I have spent a good amount of my time playing games and watching television shows, but I don’t think you would be reading this to find out I have been watching all five seasons of Ghost Whisperer instead you want to know what has been played this week in games. On a side note I plan to do this as often as possible so I can share my week with somebody other then the members of my family. So what has been happening this week in games well lets take a look.

From time to time I tend to pick up my 3DS and set out to replay The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, although I am not really a big fan of Ocarina of Time I tend to pick up and play Ocarina of Time on multiple occasions to give my 3DS some play time when I am not in the mood for Pokemon or a some of my downloaded games. So I started playing Ocarina of Time for a short while completing the first two dungeons of the game and I will hopefully get back to it soon for even more time.

On top of that I have also finally picked up a new copy of Pokemon Y as you will probably know by know if you have read my PokemonY diary I started. I haven’t spent much time playing the game yet but I have enjoyed going back to Pokemon Y thus far.

I finally got around to doing my club Nintendo Mario Kart 8 promotion game this week and with it I chose to get a download code for Game and Wario having already owned six of the other games on offer. I chose this game mostly because of the negative things I had heard about it and so I picked it up to see if my opinion will be different, at this point in time I will admit that there are a couple of games on offer that aren’t that great, however I have found that there are some that are highly enjoyable, I am hoping to get the review done soon.

Also this week I played and finished the Legend of Zelda the Minish cap and had a pretty good time considering it was originally a gameboy advance game. I actually feel the Wii U virtual console made the game even more enjoyable with the gamepad’s joysticks and the restore points.

Well that was my week with games for this week, what have you been playing and what do you think of your games?

What I want to see in Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire

Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are just a few months away and the remakes are already looking to offer some of my favourite features from the original games. There are also features from the original games still to be confirmed that would improve the game and thus I bring you the list of features that would best suit the future Pokemon games. Some of these ideas have only appeared in a single game so I believe it would be a good idea to make use of these and create possibly one of the best Pokemon games ever made.

The experience system from X and Y

One of the ideas that annoyed me about the original Ruby and Sapphire was the experience system. I don’t believe it was any different to the system used in Red and Blue or Gold and Silver, but it was much easier. I would only go through the game with three or four Pokemon at most. This issue has since carried over to other Pokemon games including Diamond and Pearl and even Black and White (Black and White being the games that annoyed me the most for the experience system). The experience system used in X and Y however allowed a whole lot more freedom in my Pokemon choices particularly because of the new version of the exp.share item used in past games. This meant all my Pokemon could be trained equally and I could even get new Pokemon late into the game. I also liked that the experience given to my Pokemon came in full regardless of the number of Pokemon I used in the battle. I feel this system could really help make the experience of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire better and allow more access to all the Pokemon in the game without causing too much of a nuisance.

Pokemon World Tournament

Pokemon World Tournament

In Pokemon Black 2 and White 2 the Pokemon World Tournament was definitely a great place for fans of the older games. It provided the player a chance to battle old Gym Leaders from past games and it was a great opportunity to see how their teams would change with the five generations of Pokemon. This also gave us a chance to battle opponents in a tournament setting and aim to be the best with your team. Unlike traditional gym battles, we couldn’t just take in one type of Pokemon and had to create and raise a team of multiple types of Pokemon. We then got to battle all the different gym leaders in a different form. In the upcoming Ruby and Sapphire remakes this could be a great feature for allowing players to challenge six generations of Gym Leaders. We could also see several other challenges. I would also enjoy having this as just part of the post game content to provide some of a challenge and bit more fun for the game.

Battle Frontier

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The Battle Frontier has been used in four games Emerald, Platinum, Heartgold and Soulsilver. The best version of the Battle Frontier was actually in Emerald, the third game expansion on the classic Ruby and Sapphire. The Battle Frontier in this game had seven decent challenges to beat and provided quite a lot of fun. I was always quite a fan of the Battle Pike myself and the updated version of the Battle Frontier used in future games just lacked that same enjoyment. They contained only five attractions that just didn’t work out as well. Since we are going back in Hoen I feel this is the perfect opportunity to bring back the original Battle Frontier from Emerald and offer that original challenge that many of us loved. I also reckon they could even expand on the original Battle Frontier with the additional attractions from Platinum. This would offer even more content for enjoyment by the player. The challenge of the Emerald Battle Frontier could keep players happy, and the new Wi-Fi options available could even enhance the experience in unimaginable ways.

A better post game

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One of the things that traditionally stands out with many of the Pokemon games is a shortage on post game content, from the original Red and Blue all the way to the recent X and Y the games have not really been known for there post game content. Then again I can argue that Gold and Silver are probably the only Pokemon games that actually a decent post game with the entire Kanto region at your disposal for exploration. Apart from that the only time we really saw much in the way of post game content was in the remake to Red and Blue with the addition of the Sevii Islands which gave an extra bit of story to play in the form of Team Rocket. As important as the main game is I feel the post game should share an equal importance presenting the player with extra story or a good selection of new areas to visit. It was sad that X and Y even lacked the post game not really providing anything to really past battling other players and training Pokemon, while this is a key component in a game I still think the games should offer a whole lot more. Though when I reference post game content I don’t actually mean the Battle Frontier or the Pokemon World Tournament. I want to explore entire new areas and get to enjoy more of the game past the story. During the course of the actual game itself I would not care less if we followed all the traditional story arcs of the original game with no extras, however post game could definitely use improvements when the original Ruby and Sapphire did not really provide anything in proper form of extra content apart from maybe an extra section in Meteor Falls. Post game Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire could take advice form Firered and Leafgreen and offer a series of islands or new locations to visit to deliver an extra story that could relate to where the members of Team Aqua and Magma go to.

VS Seeker

The Vs Seeker was one of my favourite items in Firered and Leafgreen as well as Diamond, Pearl and Platinum, and its absence has definitely been noticed in Black and White as well as X and Y. I really liked the Vs Seeker for being able to face down tough trainers again to help with training my Pokemon and it has annoyed me it not appearing in more recent games. I feel rather then bringing back the poor Pokenav rematch system from the original game the Vs Seeker could help make the rematch system better and allow more access to battles, I also think they should make an improvement allowing rematches to Gym Leaders at specific times of day as it could make the whole experience better. In case they don’t carry over the experience system from X and Y the Vs Seeker could be the next best option for training my Pokemon.

A better selection of mega Pokemon

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Mega Evolution did not really do much for me with Pokemon X and Y, the Pokemon chosen for mega evolution were not that great in my opinion. I can leave the details on design and some of the other things to Game Freak and Nintendo to decide, but there a couple of Pokemon that I would like to see given Mega Evolutions. One of the first I have been thinking about for a while is the Pokemon, Slaking, as many of us know Slaking is a Pokemon with a whole lot of potential but unfortunately it seems to go mostly wasted because of its ability that causes it to slack off every second attack. A Mega Evolution for Slaking could remove that ability and bring out the true powerhouse nature of Slaking in a sense this could be just a dream that goes to far causing Slaking to be a bit overpowered but I believe this would be an Pokemon for Mega Evolution. I also think that Pokemon such as Swellow or even Camerupt could both look really cool and add some much needed power to these Pokemon particularly Swellow who is one of my favourites even if a bit notably underpowered.  There are also several other Pokemon that could also benefit and be more enjoyed as a Mega Evolution might I suggest Salamence, Shiftry or even Claydol. There are so many Pokemon that deserve a Mega Evolutions and hopefully Game Freak make some good choices for the game now and in the future.

There are so many things that I think could be done in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire far beyond what I have already listed but for now I think my suggestions would be ones that could fully benefit the games when their released. Likewise, these suggestions could carry over into future games. These remakes have the potential to be the best and I feel with these ideas there will be a lot of happy people.

Gaming Locations – Hyrule Field

In all of gaming there is one land that is more famous than any others, these come from a wide range of history, but more particularly stem from a historic period in gaming and has helped in its many years to truly change the face of gaming and evolve it beyond previous comprehension. I of course speak of the fantastic and magical series, The Legend of Zelda, but more importantly a key aspect and staple of the series, Hyrule Field, which has forever aimed to show how things can be done.

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Linearity had grown into a common theme with games around 1986. As we saw games such as Super Mario Bros that raced from one side of a level to another and many others that were plagued by this similar linearity with no foreseeable end in sight. One game however had the means to remove the ongoing trend and set up a new era of games for future generations, this game was Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda. Prior to Nintendo’s masterpiece nobody had ever considered the true power and potential of games and the associated freedom. But even for the Legend of Zelda’s freedom it couldn’t have done it without the help of one historic location that is almost as famous as the series itself, Hyrule Field. This one location in the original game was set across many screens and was filled with almost limitless potential, it was huge and so full of secrets to find and explore and just a lot of depth in general that you couldn’t help but feel amazed by what we had just beared witness to.

I believe it would be safe to say that gaming would not have been the same thing if Hyrule field had never existed but even with the classic game showing potential this famous field even continued to show the potential of games in the eras to come. Most famously and perhaps what is most generally linked to is Ocarina of Time and the reimagining of the famous field in the third dimension. Super Mario 64 had already demonstrated how well done a game could be in three dimensions but Hyrule Field in Ocarina of Time was a true testament to the demonstration of freedom, sure in may have seemed to have majorly condensed in size but it still stood tall as part of a major purpose and famous landmark of gaming kind.

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Hyrule field was a thing of dreams particularly after the games more linear opening, while there was always a goal in mind about where you had to be going but straying off and just spending hours exploring the fields to find secrets is always an option. Of course most notably is the beautiful sights that can be seen as you run across the field that fully connect together the world within Hyrule. As you venture across the field you couldn’t help but feel in awe as the eerie yet amazing looking volcano of Death Mountain sat in front of your eyes, for many of us on our first time in the game and across Hyrule Field we looked into the awe of Death Mountain and were excited by our opportunity to go and explore, easily unaware of the dangers and troubles we were set to face there. Hyrule field filled a position as the game’s central hub that interconnected the entire expanse of Hyrule and prepared you to access every part of the world leading to the knowledge of so much adventure to come.

The power of Hyrule Field holds a deeper significance to the series as well, this one field originally acted as our portal that allowed us to get access to a thing about as famous as the field itself, your long journey on foot gained access to a bond that transcended history and for many players filled them with so much joy, I of course am mentioning the bond you gather with one extraordinary equine named Epona. This horse acted as your reward for all the hours you had spent wandering this massive field and now acted as the quickest route around being faster than Link on the field.

Link-Riding-Through-Field

Hyrule Field has had many iterations over the years including seeing it below the seas and deep below the clouds but in each iteration whether you see it or not it continues to amaze, but it really is when it appears that we truly care more and love it. Twilight Princess seems to recapture the initial magic of Hyrule Field by literally having a field that expanded across many plains and many landscapes, it was rife with danger and had many secrets to discover and so much to accomplish it even had a much more significant means as part of the story then any iteration had done previously. It was big, it was beautiful and it was so full of potential and it showed just how great the idea of open world is. Hyrule Field was the gate to a new experience for gamers, and while many lands these days seem much bigger than our Hyrule Field, I at least believe many of us will always be amazed by Hyrule Field and strive for great adventure.

Hyrule Field is a great land, it is full of so much potential and the many concepts and ideas this one area introduced us to have made many of us love this field, it may be only one piece of an entire kingdom but it is the gate that connects them all. To quote the Legend of Zelda and tell you the line before we ever truly stepped out and experienced our true taste of freedom, “It is dangerous to go alone, take this”, heed these worlds and we will continue to step out bravely into the great land of Hyrule and the wonderful picturesque gaming location of Hyrule Field. It’s always hard to deny just how beautiful the field is when you are running with the sunset at your side. You know what? Now I want to play some more Zelda and explore Hyrule Field, goodbye.

Hyrule Field

Simon walked off after this to play Zelda and explored Hyrule Field into the early hours of the morning. Don’t you think you should visit Hyrule Field? You might have some fun.

My top 10 Mario Kart courses of all time.

This article was first published on Gameluster.com on May 16. I have not updated it at all so mentions of Mario Kart 8 remain as they were originally written and I have not updated the list at all with new courses.

The Mario Kart franchise has such a rich history of fun and excitement brought about by its races and to celebrate the impending release of Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U I set out to write this. The main stars of Mario Kart that really ties the whole thing together is the courses, often we rely on the inventive courses to provide us with a sense of fun, and often because of this creativity and excitement we want to come back and play these courses time and time again. That is at least how I feel and while I have not liked a good portion of what we have been offered across the seven entries to date there have at least been a few standouts that I have really liked.

10. Yoshi Falls (Original appearance in Mario Kart DS, more recently it has featured in Mario Kart Wii)

Yoshi Falls

I know in the long run there are a lot of courses that really could have made it into this spot, but since the first time I ever had a go at Mario Kart DS this was the course I played. There is nothing overly special other than the memory in my first time seeing how well a course could be transitioned to a handheld console. But the memories aside Yoshi Falls was just a well designed course, sure it wasn’t long, sure there was no defining features, but that’s not the point Yoshi Falls was fun to race on, with computers or alone and that is why it made this spot because I enjoy it.

9. Peach Gardens (Original appearance in Mario Kart DS, has since appeared in Mario Kart Wii)

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What else is there to say, this is just a really well designed course, the work done in the design of the garden is incredible and all the little sections feel unique and different as you visit them all, the other benefit is the course is enjoyable and that is why I love this it shows how great detail can be even on a DS game, which all in all is why I love this course, even transitioned to the Wii this course still shines as one of great detail and will go down in history and always be remembered.

8. Melody Motorway (Original appearance in Mario Kart 7, set to appear in Mario Kart 8)

Melody Motorway

There is something about this course I loved from the moment I first set my eyes on this course I knew there was something special. So what was so special about it, well to this day I still don’t completely know I just know I immediately fell in love with the course. I think it is special because of the design, the combination of musical instruments that make up the course and even make up the music made a great atmosphere that I just loved to race on. I didn’t care when I won or lost because I just loved everything about this course.

7. DK’s Jungle Parkway (Original appearance in Mario Kart 64, since has appeared in Mario Kart Wii)

MK64_D.K.'s_Jungle_Parkway_8

I had a lot of fun on this course back in the day, on the Nintendo 64 I spent a good portion of my time on the original version of the course in Mario Kart 64 mastering all the little spots that the original courses offered. I loved being able to get a quick shortcut right near the end of the course, and even my little shortcut that gave me a boost near the beginning to pull ahead of my competition, I was disappointed that these spots were removed in Mario Kart Wii but I still have always loved the look and design of this course. It has always felt nice to race on this course and it did feel like a Donkey Kong level which really added to the appeal.

6. Rainbow Road 3DS (Only in Mario Kart 7)

Rainbow Road 3DS

I don’t normally enjoyable the Rainbow Road courses, I normally find these courses long, boring and repetitive. Though Mario Kart 7’s Rainbow Road did change my opinion slightly. One of the major changes in a selection of Mario Kart 7 courses was the addition of stages. Stages were essentially the same thing as laps except with each section you would encounter a different environment, this is part of the reason that I really liked this Rainbow Road, the traditional repetition and boredom made present in the courses past were completely removed and became interesting as you raced across asteroids and all matter of space related things that continued to drive the course and make it interesting. It is all because of how the course changes that makes it have replay value and made a course I really loved.

5. Toads Turnpike (Original appearance in Mario Kart 64, is set to appear in Mario Kart 8)

MK64_Toad's_Turnpike

Traffic levels are usually more of a challenge and frustrating to complete. It is funny when I think that this is why I like these courses more particularly why I like Toads Turnpike, it is a nice course that makes itself fun when you have to avoid traffic. Even more so because it is all in such close quarters between each racer and vehicle, then in order to get items I had to make sure to be off to the side. Mostly I just love the design and just how fun the course was to complete and go through over and over again. In the end it made a great course to finish a Grand Prix.

4. Royal Raceway (Original appearance in Mario Kart 64, is set to appear in Mario Kart 8)

Royal Raceway

Like many of the 64 courses this course holds great memories for myself, I never exactly cared about racing about the course itself, even though it is not to say I didn’t like the course, because it was a pretty good course especially with some of the turns and the ramp potentially ruining a good lead or even costing you the race. Mostly I liked going through this course in Time Trial mode just to go and visit Peach’s castle. This was the best features of any course, being able to visit such a memorable location, drive around the front, and even remember our time with Super Mario 64, it was great. Then you look at the great music and the aesthetics of the course itself and it was amazing.

3. Kalimari Desert (Original appearance in Mario Kart 64, since has appeared in Mario Kart 7)

KalimariDeser

I have great memories of this course, I always loved the look and feel of this course as you speed around a desert environment. Mostly what makes this course interesting to me though was the train that went around the tracks. How I saw it, was as a way to chase the lead in these courses. Even when a while behind the train helped to give me a chance to catch back up and often even take the lead. I would often narrowly miss the train and leave the others to sit and wait for it to pass. It was still a pain in parts such as when having to race but I still loved the course, more importantly I loved taking to time trails here to chase the train on the rails which is why I really love this course and remember it so fondly.

2. Moonview Highway (Only in Mario Kart Wii)

Moonview Highway

I know another traffic level. You may have something against these but I personally like these courses, again it follows the same reasons I like Toads Turnpike, however there are other reasons why I really like this course. I love the environment that surrounds this course including the great detail in the environment, and the ramp right near the start of the course that gives me a nice push ahead of the competition. Mostly though I really like the fact that the course is not as suffocating as Toads Turnpike which is why I rated this higher, there is room to breathe which is a sigh of relief even if it doesn’t stop me being ran over by traffic almost constantly.

  1. Yoshi Valley N64 (Original appearance in  Mario Kart 64, set to appear in Mario Kart 8)

MK64_Yoshi_Valley_2

Would it be any surprise that I really like Yoshi Valley. Back when the Nintendo 64 was my main console to play on I remember me always being one of the best on the track. I could leave all my opponents in my dust without even a moment’s hesitation but this course was always my Achilles Heel. Because of the layout of the entire course you never knew who was in first, or any in any position for that matter. This really messed up how well I was doing on each visit as I would have to learn the best ways around in order to try and retain first. Very rarely I succeeded but that is why really love this course, it is inconsistent with any other and makes for the idea that anything can happen. In other courses you can honestly say yeah if my opponents and their shells, I fell off the track, but here was free game, anyone’s race to win. The mystery of not knowing what happening and who you need to outrace will always make this one of my best and worst Mario Kart experiences. It is even made worse because I haven’t played Mario Kart 64 in many years but I can still remember everything about it. Hopefully though I am not alone in why I love this level and others have great memories or particular reasons why they like this course.

Mario Kart has been very up and down with me for years but there are some really amazing courses in Mario Kart as I have said. In the future I look forward to seeing how my opinions change as we move into Mario Kart 8 with more new courses to potentially love. For now I look forward to the future and even though I never mentioned it I have to give an honourable mention to the courses Coconut Mall, and Bowsers Castle on the 64. Before you think anything I just really love the 64 courses as that was my favourite game in the series.  So what do you think do you agree with my list?