The online casino industry is a competitive one, with the hundreds of leading casinos out there all trying as hard as possible to snatch players from their competitors. With more people playing online than ever before, that competition has heated up.
As such, virtually every big casino site offers a dizzying array of bonuses as part of the ongoing battle to attract players to their platform. The homepages of most casino websites will feature dozens of bonuses ranging from straight-up cash offers to free games.
Navigating the world of casino bonuses can be a tricky one, especially if you don’t understand the lingo. To ensure you get the best possible value from your online casino experience, read on to get the complete lowdown of all of the different types of online casino bonus in 2019.
The first thing you need to know about online casino bonuses is that the “cash” bonuses often come in two different forms. The first of these, which tends to be less popular among online casinos, is the “cashable” bonus. This bonus is typically pegged to a deposit that you might make, often being a percentage of that amount (ranging from anything between 10% and 100%). If it’s cashable, then you reserve the right to withdraw the bonus whenever you see fit.
More common is the “non-cashable” bonus. Such bonuses are frequently referred to among gamers as “sticky bonuses”, given that you can’t actually withdraw them right away. Rather, these bonuses can be used to play games. Of course, any winnings from these games are yours to keep, as long as you’ve fulfilled the “playthrough” requirement – ie. as long as you’ve bet a certain amount of money, usually calculated as a multiple of your bonus. Out of everything you need to know about online casino bonuses, this might just be the most important point. For instance, you may be required to play through 20x the bonus amount you received. Non-cashable bonuses are usually much higher than in cashable bonuses. They are essentially a bonus in the form of credit that lets you play for free. Of course, anything you win from these bonus games is yours to keep.
Non-cashable bonuses are designed to give the player as much time to explore and enjoy the range of games on offer at a certain casino in the hopes of gaining a loyal customer. Bonuses can range between 100% and 300%, meaning that you get significantly more to play with than a cashable bonus.
To access a deposit bonus you are required to deposit some of your own funds into an account with the casino. These bonuses can generously reward your loyalty, often consisting of a match bonus that is several times higher than the amount you have deposited.
The amount varies wildly from casino to casino, but the goal is to be as generous as possible. It is not uncommon for a deposit of $50 to be rewarded with several hundred dollars worth of casino credits, so make sure to shop around to find the most lucrative offers possible. You are also able to use your original deposit to play casino games, although if you withdraw that deposit you will lose access to any bonuses that were originally offered.
As you might have guessed, no-deposit bonuses are the inverse. They don’t require the player to commit to putting any funds in a casino account whatsoever (although you do have to sign up with that casino). The bonus amounts are naturally smaller, but they offer you some free playtime and a shot at winning something for nothing, still usually subject to the aforementioned playthrough requirements.
The final common type of online casino bonus is what is known as free play bonuses. These are bonuses which do not offer any form of cash or credit, but rather a number of free games on the casino’s dime. The most popular version of this kind of bonus is known as “free spins”, which is when players are offered free spins on a variety of slot machines, with any winnings being theirs to keep.
The amount offered can be pretty generous and there are relatively few strings attached. In exchange for simply setting up a free account, a casino will often offer hundreds of free spins on slot machines of your choosing, often throwing in a few free rounds of other popular casino games at the same time. Even if you win the slot jackpot from a free spin, every penny of that jackpot is usually yours to enjoy.
Free play bonuses aren’t just limited to the slot machines; many popular casinos offer free rounds of blackjack, poker, roulette, and more in exchange for either a deposit or absolutely nothing. It’s a good way for newcomers to get a feel for a certain casino and decide whether or not they like it enough to stick with it. Naturally, the casino hopes that you will.
Now that you know what you need to know about bonuses, it’s time to take advantage of them.
The year 2020 leading into 2021 has definitely proven difficult amongst all gamers across the globe. Newly released computer parts have in addition to last-gen have become either scarce or overpriced due to the increased demand and of course scalpers. Even new generation consoles are being picked off by them. However, though it may be a rough time to build, that does not make it impossible. Here I will go over available parts, good budgets, and overall what to look for when trying to build a PC during the pandemic.
When building a PC it can seem overwhelming, but with a guide or help you will come to realize it’s not all too hard at all. We just need to start with the CPU for the computer. A CPU, otherwise known as the Central Processing Unit or Processor, is the part of the computer that executes instructions that make up the computer program. This part of the computer can pretty much be compared to the human brain. It delegates and executes tasks just as our brains tell us what to do, think, and say. There are two major brands which are known as Ryzen and Intel. I won’t go into the major differences between the processors, more so give you a comparison when necessary because debating processors would be opening a whole new can of worms per se. Intel Processors come in the i3, i5, i7, and i9; but Ryzen will come in the Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7, and Ryzen 9. You base your choice in the processor on what you would be using the computer for, and how demanding you need your specs to be. Whether you’re a hard-core gamer, or just an anime binger these all tie into your choice for your parts. As far as availability though in my honest opinion performance-wise during this pandemic, the Ryzen 5 3600x is the best for not only your wallet but mid-ranged performance. This processor can hold over the average gamer and be consistent in your day-to-day tasks. This processor has 6 cores, 12 threads, runs at 95 Celsius, and maxes clock speeds of 4.4GHz. Another great bonus with Ryzen Processors is that they come with a fantastic CPU cooler known as the Wraith Cooler, saving you the time and energy to find a decent cooler for your CPU. This can be bought online or in stores such as Amazon, Newegg, Best Buy, Microcenter, and other various stores for on average $250 give or take depending on store choice.
From here we can go into your CPU cooler quick, and I say quick because from this particular build I’m recommending during the pandemic we would use the cooler that came with the Ryzen 3600x. CPU coolers are important, and the name says exactly why. Your cooler is what keeps your CPU from overheating and damaging your system or just plain not turning on. Your computer will in fact shut off if temperatures skyrocket to hopefully prevent any permanent damage. These coolers come as fans, AOIs, or water pumps. For the sake of budget during the pandemic, I encourage fans. Fans are very efficient and extremely low maintenance and cost anywhere from $10-100 on average unless you use the CPU fan that comes with. However, for those that want another good option and have some more money at their disposal AOIs (All In One) are another good option. They are an all-in-one water cooling system that combines the water block, radiator, tubes, fans, fittings, and pump into a small package. Not only do they look cool, but they are also low maintenance. The only downside is that they will need to be replaced with a completely new AOI every 6 months. Water cooling, on the other hand, can be extremely expensive and high maintenance but can be the best method of cooling your computer. Depending on the liquid you use you will be cleaning it every 3 to 6 months. AOIs are generally more budget-friendly averaging around $200, while full Water Cooling systems can average around $600. For this article’s purpose, however, I will stick with the Wraith cooler as recommended.
Your next step is to choose a compatible motherboard, which is why we start with the CPU because other parts will only be compatible with certain CPUs. Your motherboard is a printed circuit board that allows communication between crucial components such as your CPU and RAM. This part can be compared to the nervous system of the human body. It is important when considering a good motherboard that you keep in mind available slots for your m.2 drives, transfer speeds, whether or not you want LAN or wifi, and any other additions such as RGB, available ports, the cooling on your chipset, and more. Good motherboards can be tricky to find due to pricing and wanting all the bells and whistles, but I found that the ASUS ROG Strix X570-E is absolutely great for middle ground. It comes with PCIe 4.0, WiFi 6 and gigabyte LAN, active cooling for your chipset, Gen 4 M.2 slots with 64 GB transfer speeds, both USB type A and C with HDMI, Display, and more. Also, a good plus is the RGB so for buyers such as myself, you’ll be filled with endless color. This particular motherboard is also decently priced at $300 USD. You can find it at similar stores previously mentioned when we covered the CPU.
Following the motherboard, we can pretty much dive into anything else such as your random access memory (RAM), GPU, hard drives, case, and PSU. I will continue with RAM next because RAM is extremely important for any PC build. Your RAM is your extremely fast and temporary storage space that your computer will need at the moment or in the next few seconds. This is what allows multitasking functions such as the number of windows that you can keep open and running high-demand games. As an example, I am sure everyone here has experienced windows randomly closing out on them, and that is because your computer does not have enough RAM to keep your multiple tasks at hand. RAM features generally come in different sizes such as 4 GB, 8 GB, 16 GB, and so on. My recommendation for the average gamer would be to go with 16 GB RAM and for the average user per social media and streamer at least 8 GB RAM. There are a variety of great brands, such as Corsair, Trident, Kingston, and HyperX, but my recommendation is the Corsair Vengeance LED. The specifications for this set are great for the price with DDR 4 and speeds of 3200 MHz. The price point is a bit more than your average RAM, but Corsair is always very sturdy, has great performance, and is overall just reliable. You will need a BIOS update to his the speeds for 3200, but the quality makes up for it. Corsair also tends to always run great sales depending on where you buy. Right now you can find them on sale for $229.99 on Corsair’s website.
Proceeding onward, I will briefly cover the PSU and hard drives. Your PSU is honestly an easier choice to make because this is your Power Supply Unit. Not as much thought is needed to go into this particular part. You just need to make sure you find a good wattage that will power all of your components without the risk of damage. I recommend the one I use personally which is the Corsair CX750M because it’s quiet, fairly powerful, and reasonably priced. It runs on average around $100 and can be found at your normal retails as previously mentioned above. There are other good brands such as Asus and Thermaltake, but I found that this particular model is solid in price, wattage, and overall performance. You won’t break the bank and overkill your needs, but you also aren’t sacrificing crucial performance either. In addition to the PSU, we will need to look at hard drives. I always recommend a solid-state drive (SSD) for any computer.
An SSD is a solid part rather than your standard HDD which is a spinning disk. They have low failure rates and increase loading speeds exponentially. That being said they are a lot more expensive than your standard HDD so I generally go by the rule of thumb of getting at least 1 to load your operating system on and any important documents or games that you want better loading times on. Then get an HDD for extra storage since they run extremely cheaper. For this, my recommendations are to get a Samsung 860 Evo 500 GB. This gives you enough room for your OS like Windows 10 (which eats up space) and maybe some important games that you revisit often. This model not only gives you great performance and reliability but also is greatly priced around $75 to $100 depending on the vendor of your choice. For your HDD I generally recommend Western Digital. They are more reliable than your standard Seagate and you can grab 1TB storage for around $50.
We (unfortunately) have no arrived at the barren wastelands of graphics cards (GPUs), which have been completely raided by scalpers for both the new generation and last generation. Your GPU is one of the most important parts of your computer. This is what will allow your computer to play in 1080, 2K, 4K, and so on. Usually, I would say base your graphics card on what you prioritize, but with the scarce availability, beggars can not be choosers. Your top brands are usually Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, and so on, so for what is available I generally say attempt to look for the best brands you can. So with this in mind, I would bite the bullet and get the GTX 1660 if you are not able to wait. This will be the cheapest option that will last you long enough to hopefully get your hands on a 30 series. It will cost the same as a 3060, which is around $599.99, but you can always try to sell it to someone for some money back when the 30 series roles around. The only other option I can say is to wait for the 30 series. Any other GPU will be outrageously priced, while the GPU is only around $200 over the normal price. You could step it down, however then you will be on minimum requirements for most new releases.
Your last choice will be a case for your computer. You’ll be basing this on size, color, and fans. Generally, you want to pick between a mini, mid, and full tower. There are other sizes but they are mostly for business purposes and pre-built. I personally had no recommendation on your case because that is a pure preference for how you want it to look, and most cases allow you to add more fans or change them if you want different colors like platinum or RGB. I love Corsair and Fractal Design personally, however, my case is actually the NZXT 510 Elite which I was not a huge fan of. I say do research and see what you want in your case for this, then go from there. You will also get to pick out monitors and peripherals which are also usually a personal preference unless you like competitive gaming. Usually, for a monitor, I like to go with MSI, Asus, and BenQ. MSI and Asus are usually better for your wallet, but if you have the extra money BenQ is a fantastic brand to go with. Your peripherals include a headset, mouse, and keyboard. I love Razer personally as far as grip, customization, and performance. The Applications to customize performance are very user-friendly and easy to navigate. Corsair and Kraken are also great go-to go to as far as customization and performance.
Building a PC can be an exciting experience, even during the pandemic. Though the prices are high and availability for certain parts is at an all-time low, this is a way to make the most of an incredible experience. PC gaming opens a whole new world for any gamer, and ultimately is a teaching experience for players around the world for what performance really means. Just like this guide, a good budget for a decent PC during COVID and scalpers will probably run you around $1500 for all the parts before the monitor and other peripherals. For those looking to build, I hope this guide can serve you during these hard and stressful times.
Black History Month is for raising awareness about issues affecting the black community and celebrating the achievements of black people. Martin Luther King, Jr., Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Nelson Mandela, and Morgan Freeman, among others, are universally known in their fields. Video games also have a black man to thank for revolutionizing the gaming industry: Jerry Lawson. While not as well known as the people mentioned before, Lawson has had an impact on gaming that continues to the present.
Jerry Lawson was born in 1940 in New York City, and his own teachers encouraged him to be someone like George Washington Carver (a black scientist and inventor who people mistakenly believe invented peanut butter, although he did make numerous contributions to the advancement of agriculture). Lawson got an early start to his career, earning an amateur ham radio license at the age of 13. Lawson also showed his aptitude for technology, earning money by repairing television sets. Lawson also created his own radio station in his room.
Lawson joined Fairchild Semiconductor in San Francisco in 1970 and created the arcade game Demolition Derby in his own garage in 1975, possibly also making him the first black man to develop his own video game. He also recalled interviewing (but not hiring) Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak for a position at Fairchild. Along with Ron Jones, he was only one of two black members of the Homebrew Computer Club, a computer hobbyist group located in Menlo Park, California that met from 1975 to 1986. The group’s membership also included Wozniak and Steve Jobs.
Lawson was eventually promoted to Chief Hardware Engineer at Fairchild, as well as the director of engineering and marketing for the company’s video game division. Lawson led the development of the Fairchild Channel F, which was also the first video game console to feature swappable video game cartridges. Previously, games were built into the hardware. This also made Lawson the inventor of the video game cartridge. The Fairchild Channel F also had other revolutionary features: a pause button and an 8-way joystick. While it was not commercially successful, it would lay the foundation for the wildly popular Atari 2600.
Lawson left Fairchild in 1980 and founded Videosoft to produce games for the Atari 2600, but the company was one of the many casualties of the video game crash of 1983, folding in 1985. Lawson eventually went into consulting work until his death in 2011. So whenever you play a video game, just remember Jerry Lawson helped make it all possible.
Like a certain iconic electronic music duo that also disbanded this week, Fry’s Electronics is no more. For me, that is a big deal. Fry’s Electronics was one of the biggest electronics stores that I frequented growing up. There were TVs, computers, video games, mobile phones, appliances, tools, toys, books, software, hardware, and in some locations, restaurants. At one point, one could spend hours in Fry’s looking at the massive selection of products they had to offer. Before you headed to the checkout line, there was also a huge selection of snacks for your gaming sessions, including organic sour gummy worms and some extremely rare snacks that I still can only find online (looking at you, Mauna Loa Kona Coffee Glazed Macadamia Nuts).
When Fry’s chose to close up shop on February 24, 2021, this put an end to an electronics retailer that offered far more than just products—they offered services such as PC building, audio installation, the list goes on and on. The very first parts that would end up in my PC came from Fry’s Electronics. It was also an excellent place to find the latest video games. Even the tiniest electronic parts could be found at Fry’s, like those little transistors that go in some circuit board for some project. Another thing that caught customers’ eyes were the thematic stores. The location in Palo Alto, California was Wild West-themed, while the location in Sacramento was Gold Rush-themed. One of my favorites, the original Sunnyvale location, detailed the history of Silicon Valley, while the Las Vegas location (where I live now) was Las Vegas Strip-themed (obviously).
While there is no doubt that Fry’s has had a reputation among customers as being empty shells of their former selves in more ways than one even before the COVID-19 pandemic, it is an institution that has fostered my interest in consumer electronics that led me to build my first PC a decade ago. From the early 2000s to the mid-2010s, I frequented Fry’s at least once a month (if not more frequently) with my family and friends. While the writing was on the wall in the late 2010s, it took a global pandemic to put the final nail in the coffin of Fry’s Electronics.
On their website, Fry’s said: “After nearly 36 years in business as the one-stop-shop and online resource for high-tech professionals across nine states and 31 stores, Fry’s Electronics, Inc. (“Fry’s” or “Company”), has made the difficult decision to shut down its operations and close its business permanently as a result of changes in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Company will implement the shut down through an orderly wind down process that it believes will be in the best interests of the Company, its creditors, and other stakeholders. The Company ceased regular operations and began the wind-down process on February 24, 2021. It is hoped that undertaking the wind-down through this orderly process will reduce costs, avoid additional liabilities, minimize the impact on our customers, vendors, landlords and associates, and maximize the value of the Company’s assets for its creditors and other stakeholders.”
It’s been a great run, and may all their employees land on their feet and find something new as soon as possible.
The Nintendo Switch has become so popular that even ports of earlier games are selling incredibly well for it. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Bayonetta 2 and the just-released Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury are proof of that.
Thus far, we’ve gotten most of the Wii U games on the Switch, save for certain releases like StarFox Zero. But what about the Wii? Wouldn’t some of their games be an ideal fit on the Switch? Heck yeah, they would.
With that, we’ve got a few suggestions of Wii games that we think would be right at home on the platform. Hurry, Nintendo, they’re not going to release themselves!
Don’t laugh at this suggestion. Wii Sports has become one of the most popular games of all time on the Wii, and continues to sell surprisingly well on the used game market today. So a re-release for the Switch just makes sense, with players using their JoyCons to try and outscore their opposition. For good measure, Nintendo could add Club features to the game, along with online play, so fans won’t feel so isolated as they stay stuck inside from COVID-19.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
We mentioned earlier how we want The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the Switch. And we’re likely to get that. But you know what game doesn’t seem as likely? The Wii release Skyward Sword. This is a thrilling adventure in its own right, and Nintendo could easily bring it to the platform with enhanced visuals, various gameplay options and maybe even some new content for fans to relish. Well, either this or The Wind Waker. Or hey, how about both?!
Sin and Punishment: Star Successor
Easily one of the best shooters released for the Wii, Sin and Punishment: Star Successor is still an excellent game by today’s standards – and a perfect candidate for release on the Nintendo Switch. With different control schemes, fantastic visuals and maybe even the original Sin and Punishment as an unlockable bonus, Star Successor could easily be a hot-seller for the platform. And, hey, Treasure isn’t doing anything at the moment, sooooo…
Kirby’s Epic Yarn
While it is great to have contemporary Kirby adventures on the Switch, it wouldn’t hurt to give his Epic Yarn adventure a try on the platform. It did really well releasing the game on the 3DS a little while back, so obviously HAL Entertainment can bring it to another platform – and with Switch-exclusive features and game control schemes to boot. Oh, and we’ll totally take online co-op as well, if only because we don’t want to leave players…strung along? Heh.
Metroid Prime Trilogy
Finally, since it’s going to be a while until we see Metroid Prime 4 surface on the system, Nintendo should fill the void by giving us one of the greatest trilogies in recent memory on the Switch – and that’s the Metroid Prime Trilogy. The release did extremely well on the Wii, even becoming hard to come by at one point. So a re-release – complete with its Steelbook case and collectibles – would be just the thing to get us by in 2021. Please?
It may be 2021, and its support may be nowhere to be found save for a few indie developers. But, to be honest, the PlayStation Vita is a great little system.
Sure, Sony dropped it like a bad habit and it didn’t get nearly as many games as it deserved. But when it comes to handheld gaming, it has exquisite quality between its OLED screen, its fine control scheme, and its array of both AAA and indie titles. Sony should’ve given this a second chance, especially against the Nintendo Switch.
Nevertheless, we’re starting to see more collectors go after the hardware and some of its games, just for the sake of collective argument. That said, some newcomers may be a little overwhelmed as to where to start with picking games up for it.
Well, not to worry, because we’re here with five great suggestions that’ll start you on the right foot, no matter which Vita you’re picking up. Hunt down these titles and indulge!
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
The Vita has its fair share of outstanding fighting games, including a number of BlazBlue titles and Street Fighter X Tekken. But the true winner of the bunch is clearly Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. This port is a highly effective one, with great gameplay features that take advantage of the system, along with awesome visuals and sound. Plus it’s so easy to get into, with supers to unleash and a number of outstanding characters. It’s not every day you see someone like Phoenix Wright taking on Magneto, after all.
Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath
Initially released for the first Xbox console, Oddworld Inhabitants’ sprawling Western shooter eventually made its debut on the Vita – and has become one of the most admired games for the system. It handles controls reasonably well, allowing you to work between first and third person perspectives almost effortlessly. It also packs a punch with its graphics, as well as its storyline, which takes a major turn close to the end that really brings the adventure to a monumental close. Don’t let this Wrath pass you by.
Oh, the PlayStation Vita has some great platformers, including Shantae: Half-Genie Hero and Shovel Knight, among many others. It also has lots of Rayman to go around, thanks to the launch title Rayman Origins. But Legends eclipses it in so many ways, with an abundance of great in-game content, as well as entertaining gameplay, challenges galore, and some of the best graphics we’ve seen on this side of the Vita. It’s still a legendary title that’s worth hunting down to this very day.
Hack and slashers don’t get much better than Muramasa, which initially made its debut on Wii to thunderous applause. But on the Vita, it expanded to another audience, thanks to the sheer beauty of Rebirth. With spellbinding visuals, exciting gameplay (taking advantage of more traditional controls), and two different quests to take on, it’s easily one of Vanillaware’s finest. And you can’t play it on Switch – at least, not yet – so Vita’s the best way to enjoy it on the go at the moment.
Persona 4 Golden
If you think that we’re not going to recommend Persona 4’s arrival on the PlayStation Vita, you’re crazy. This easily stands as one of the best experiences on Sony’s handheld, if not the best, bringing all its goodness to the platform with other great goodies. Its gameplay will compel you for hours on end; its characters bring an abundant amount of content to the table; and it takes storytelling to a whole new level. Plus it just plain looks fantastic. Hunt this baby down and add it to your collection forever.
What Vita games would you pick up alongside the system?
Let’s go back to the year 1999 when I was just a youngling learning the ways of the Nintendo 64 and all of its glory. There came out a wonderful game of such impact that I didn’t even know that to this day, I still would be gushing in awe that I still remember and love it soo much!
Time for a trip to the beach
Here you are looking at this game and not knowing what is about to do down. Insert the cartridge to get that satisfying feel, see the beautiful N64 logo floating and cutting to “POKEMON ISLAND” without foreknowledge your about to go down to witness Pokémon like we have never before. Skipping ahead past the start screen, just to get to the best part of getting ported down a track and your ZERO-ONE pod that goes to the “GOAL-GATE” to exit the current level, here we will sit back and whip out the “Poke-Cam” out and begin our great journey of capturing great almost amazing picture’s. The first Pokémon we encounter on the beach is a “Pidgey” and not just one but almost a whole flock. Equipped only with just a roll of 60 pictures before our “FILM” ( I have put the word “FILM” in quotations for the reason that whoever reads this knows that we used to have a physical form of photography and not just digital media and yes even in a video game where they could’ve just given us all the space.) would run out so making sure to take only the best and identifying pics to add to our new and growing collection.
All of the Easter Eggs!
For all those that think that this is just a snap and go….. let me tell you that you will be pleasantly surprised for this ALL MIGHT of a game! Get ready for a Detroit slam to just blindside you. The amount of work you must put in to figure out that every level that you will play has so many different Pokémon interactions. Apples, pester balls, and ZEE Poke-Flute, these items become your best friend to get to all the awesome and special interactions on every level that we travel to. My favorite one has to be the Magikarp to Gyarados evolve. We first start off by trying to knock a Magikarp at a Mankey with a pester ball that will then hit it over to the dancing Gravelers, proceed to throw another pester ball to knock it over to the waterfall, where it jumps in and out pops out a Gyarados!! OOOOO buddy my first time doing this is still one of my top moments in this beautiful game. Take your time to enjoy the fact that you are taking pictures of Pokémon in an almost pure state free and wild!
New Pokémon snap!
OMG!!! 22 long years and here in April. We will be receiving something so grand yet so majestic to tantalize our imagination’s as new and veterans return to take a plethora of such great pictures. The game will take place on three different islands! We shall be also be figuring out a mysterious glow that is on the Pokémon “The Illumina Phenomenon”. Lental region is looking to be the best place for us to pick back up where our “PHOTO POKE- JOURNMILISM” began. My only reservation for this is that I hope they make so many different interactions that every playthrough is fresh not just a copy and paste of the last one. My excitement is through the roof so hold on to your butts for this new endeavor!
Over the years, fighting games have truly evolved. But you know what hasn’t? Wrestling games. Not to say that WWE Battlegrounds is shabby or anything, but there was a point in time where people got excited about wrestling games. We’re talking the heyday of WCW vs. NWO World Tour and WWF Wrestlemania 2000, where players could enjoy throwing each other around for hours on end.
And that brings us to a golden era in which wrestling games took an unconventional – yet awesome – turn. In 2003, EA worked alongside the developers at AKI to produce a game called Def Jam Vendetta, which was released for PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube. It revolved around a storyline that included a number of rap superstars in the place of conventional wrestlers but created a fun, overwhelmingly awesome experience that players couldn’t get enough of.
A year later, following the game’s overwhelming success, EA struck gold again with Def Jam: Fight For NY, which released for GameCube and PS2, along with Xbox. It became an even bigger hit, thanks to an expanded roster of characters, a better storyline (including good ol’ Snoop Dogg), and improved fighting action that made it a blast to pull off special moves and take down opponents.
And then, just like that, the hype stopped. Granted, we did get a spin-off for PlayStation Portable, The Takeover, which was pretty cool. On top of that, EA did try to make a conventional fighting game for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 called Def Jam Icon. But outside of that, the Def Jam license wasn’t really used ever again. That’s a shame, and here’s why.
People love the Def Jam games. Even after all these years, they continue to be an overwhelming draw with players, whether it’s with AKI’s awesome mechanics or simply being able to beat up folks with DMX while “X Gonna Give It To Ya” blares in the background. Everything about these games connected players, just as well as the previously mentioned Nintendo 64 wrestling games. In fact, the hip hop mood – and the overwhelmingly packed roster of superstars, including obscure favorites like Carmen Electra – gave the games incredible replay value.
If you don’t believe me, take a close look at what the games resell for on eBay. Vendetta clears out around $40-$50 easy with a complete version, especially on the PS2. And Def Jam: Fight For NY is astronomical in its cost, with a version that includes instructions and case going for around $150 in some cases, depending on condition.
There’s heavy demand for the Def Jam games, so when there were rumors that a new game was in the works, fans got excited. But we haven’t heard anything since then…and we’re wondering why.
While EA has taken more of a traditional approach to sports games as of late, it’s seriously ignoring what propelled them to popularity in the first place. Yes, players loved Madden. But they also loved SSX and Mutant League Football and other offbeat efforts that drew them in. And don’t even get me started on how ignored NBA Street has been. (Honestly, EA should’ve made a new version of that instead of trying to play catch-up with its NBA Live franchise.)
So what can be done here? Well, honestly, we’re not too worried about a new game, because, well, it’d likely end up the same as Icon. It wasn’t a bad game, but it was completely different from what made Vendetta and Fight for NY stand out.
What we need are remastered versions. We’re talking Vendetta and Fight for NY running at a beautiful 60 FPS with an array of great songs (even if they can’t get the licenses to all of them, they can get most) and rap superstars. We’re talking improvement to controls and maybe something that takes advantage of new features, like the JoyCons and the DualSense. We’re talking online play and leagues, in which players can challenge one another to see who truly rules the streets.
Think about this as well. Sure, EVO’s on the rocks right now between the pandemic and controversy. But when it does come back – and it likely will – how great would it be to see Def Jam somewhere at the forefront? With tournaments, introductions, a concert, something like that. All EA has to do is throw it some development and marketing dollars, and make the game the right way alongside the team at AKI, and it could find immense success. It just has to try.
Of course, it’s probably worried about making money on the backend with something like this. But we’ve seen the company cave in to demand in the past. After the fiasco that was Star Wars: Battlefront II’s initial release, it gave the players the multiplayer experience that they wanted. On top of that, we also got a single-player Star Wars experience (Jedi: Fallen Order) and a TIE Fighter-esque multiplayer romp (Star Wars: Squadrons). Now it’s just a matter of turning back to its EA Sports Big label and actually giving us sports games that we can appreciate, and not just endure because, well, there are no other options.
C’mon, EA. You see the demand that’s out there for the older Def Jam games. Give us the remasters – or, hell, even a new game if you’re up for it – and let us mix it up with DMX and Redman the way we were meant to. We gotta “give it” to someone, and not all of us have the luxury of affording a PlayStation 2 or GameCube.
2021 could very well be a big year for The Legend of Zelda.
There’s been all sorts of whispers that Breath of the Wild 2 could get a big reveal this year – and maybe even a release over the holiday season. But there’s also been talk about the return of some of Link’s earlier adventures for the Nintendo Switch, like the Wii classic Skyward Sword.
But the big talk revolves around a remake of The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, the legendary adventure that made its debut on the Nintendo 64 in its heyday. Still regarded as one of the best games in the series, a remake would hit the spot for the Nintendo Switch, even all these years later.
So why is the time right for this game to get the remake treatment? Well, there’s a lot of factors to consider. Let’s take a look.
It worked for Mario
Back in September, Nintendo shocked its community by releasing a three-pack of Mario’s greatest adventures for the Switch, including a fantastic looking edition of Super Mario 64 from his Nintendo 64 days. The game became a colossal hit, and will likely sell a few million copies more before Nintendo “retires” the three-pack by the end of March 2021.
Its sales indicate that players don’t mind pouring down some cash for a well-made set of remakes, so that shows great possibility when it comes to doing the same for good ol’ Link. A three-pack featuring Skyward Sword, Twilight Princess and, yup, Ocarina of Time would do the big N some good, and boost sales for the system as the company continues to try and make new games in the midst of COVID-19.
So don’t be shocked if we see some sort of Zelda pack announced alongside some form of update for Breath of the Wild 2, just to keep fans content. And, hey, it’d be great to see Skyward Sword embrace a traditional control scheme to boot.
Nintendo loves nostalgia
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Nintendo, it’s that it truly embraces its nostalgia. Take a look at the company’s releases for 2021 so far. We’re getting Super Mario 3D World this coming week, with a new expansion that’ll push it beyond its original Wii U release a few years ago. And then there’s New Pokemon Snap, the long-awaited follow-up to the Nintendo 64 cult classic that had us printing out pictures so long ago.
Yeah, it seems that Nintendo isn’t likely to pass up an opportunity for players to enjoy a classic experience on a new platform. And that’s why an Ocarina of Time re-release just makes sense. Players could easily revisit favorite parts of the game, all while taking in the slightly refreshed visuals or enjoying the controls working so well on the Switch format. And, hey, it would bring in a boatload of money for Nintendo, which isn’t the worst thing out there.
Nostalgia sells, and Nintendo knows it. So don’t be too shocked if it considers a cash-in to give players a new taste of Ocarina of Time.
It could tie in with the Nintendo 64 Classic
There have been rumors for the longest time about Nintendo giving its N64 platform the same treatment that it gave the NES and Super NES in terms of plug-and-play value. While that has yet to be confirmed, they continue to build up feverishly; and the re-release of Ocarina of Time could help generate more interest in its release.
We’ve already seen Super Mario 64 do wonders on the Switch platform, thanks to that 3D All Stars release; and there’s been talk that the Nintendo Switch Online service could get a taste of N64 goodness down the road as well. But, for now, re-releasing Ocarina of Time could gauge just how popular the format could be, either in a plug-and-play fashion or with digital titles. Or, hey, maybe even both – look at how well StarFox 2 went over when it took those routes.
It just makes sense that Ocarina of Time come out, as it could do well for its platform while still serving a mighty need to satisfy players. It’s just a win-win scenario all around – and that’s more than enough reason to give it to us, Nintendo. C’mon.
Not to mention that the game worked really well on the 3DS platform, as the trailer shows below. It’s a guaranteed victory on Switch, we assure you.
At one point in time, WWE wrestling video games were the hottest thing in town. You couldn’t get enough of games like WWF Wrestlemania 2000 and WWF No Mercy on the Nintendo 64, as well as the WWF Smackdown! games on the PlayStation 2. And then there was the THQ “golden era,” which not only gave us great wrestling sims, but also fun off-shoots like the arcade style WWE All Stars and the ridiculous sleeper WWE Crush Hour.
But then, in 2013, a jarring change took place. Following the closure (at the time) of THQ, 2K Games acquired the license to WWE games. And instead of simply branching out and making a variety of titles based on the brand, it focused on singular, yearly releases in the WWE 2K series. It did have its spin-off WWE Supercard series for mobile, but, outside of that, it was status quo for a number of years, with the talented team at Yuke’s making each entry.
But then something happened – something bad. In 2019, 2K released WWE 2K20, the first game to be produced solely by Visual Concepts, removing Yuke’s from the development picture. And many things went wrong with the game, from a poor DLC model featuring Halloween-style costumes to terrible control issues to the worst kind of glitches you can imagine. We actually included a highlight (lowlight?) reel below, to give you an idea of just how screwed up things got.
As a result of poor sales and a whopping amount of negative feedback from fans, 2K put the brakes on WWE 2K21, opting to work with Saber Interactive on the arcade-style WWE 2K Battlegrounds instead. Though not entirely universally acclaimed, it was a modest hit for the company, possibly hinting at future entries down the road.
With that, 2K is at a crossroads. There are reports that it plans to release WWE 2K22 later this year, as it’s already begun recording with a number of superstars with this past weekend’s Royal Rumble. But this seems like as good a time as any for the company to get creative, and not necessarily stick with the yearly game plan – especially if it ends up being as bad as WWE 2K20 was.
So what can it do? Well, we have some suggestions.
Arcade-style is working
Considering that WWE 2K Battlegrounds is pretty well received – despite its microtransactions to unlock certain wrestlers in the game (though you can use currency) – it’s time for 2K Sports to stick with that plan. This seems like a good a time as any to consider a re-release of WWE All Stars.
Let’s explain why that works. The game was a hit when it was released in 2012, with a number of buff superstars duking it out in over-the-top fashion. And 2K does have the rights to the series, since it still kind of makes the rounds digitally. Not to mention that, with its current pay structure, it could easily reform the THQ San Diego studio that worked on the original, implementing a new roster and maybe even some new tricks up its sleeve.
While an arcade-style game might compete with the likes of Battlegrounds to some extent, it would also be a hit with old-school gamers. And it’d sell like hotcakes on the Switch, just as Saber Interactive’s game has. Something to consider.
Speaking of old-school games that deserve a second chance to shine – what about WWE Wrestlefest? The original WWF version released in arcades under Technos back in 1991, becoming a huge arcade hit. In 2013, THQ attempted to rejuvenate the brand with a mobile-only release, featuring an updated roster and old-school style gameplay.
This seems like a perfect opportunity for 2K to consider a comeback of sorts for the brand, getting together a team of developers that understand the old-school nature. What’s more, it could be offered for a lower price, and maybe even for mobile like the last Wrestlefest was. Of course, we have to have Switch as well, just because.
Another good game to consider, especially since it was so much fun the last couple of times around. And, hey, no heavy mechanics necessary – Visual Concepts can rest easy on this one.
Other great ideas
In the past, we’ve seen WWE Crush Hour light things up pretty nicely; and there was talk about a cancelled game called WWE Brawl that featured insane one-on-one fighting mechanics. We’re not sure why it didn’t come out – lack of interest, maybe? – but it should’ve been given a chance. Maybe this is a good time for 2K to consider its resurrection, based on what we’ve seen in the video below. And keep its separate from the sim stuff, obviously.
For that matter, 2K could also bring its existing mobile properties to the console front to see how they fare. Supercard, for example, could easily be a huge sim title, especially with online play. And there’s also WWE Champions, which could be fun for a few rounds as well.
These are just some quick ideas, but it gives you an idea of the diversity that 2K could easily go for when it comes to all things WWE. It shouldn’t just stick to the straight and narrow because, as we’ve seen in the past, that isn’t always the best way to go. Diversification and invention can go a long way for the WWE games here. They just need to give them a chance.