The Friday letters page offers advice for keeping track of your video game backlog, as one reader praises indie game Cocoon.
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Never say never
I don’t know what I found more offensive about that Financial Times article about Nintendo, the total arrogance and indifference towards a 134-year-old industry giant or the fact that the whole concept of the company being bought out was merely the chance to increase the stock value of other companies in Japan.
Never mind that Nintendo as we know it would be destroyed, or that Microsoft would become an unstoppable force purely as a result of having more money than anyone else, all they care about is share prices and the rich getting richer at the expense of everyone else. Did Gordon Gecko write that article or something?
I hope that Nintendo will always remain independent and will always do their own thing, whether it happens to please me or not. In fact, I hope that for all companies, rather than have them all just be subsidiaries of two or three OCP stands-in.
It worries me greatly that Phil Spencer’s leaked email talks about some American stockholder trying to slowly talk Nintendo round into letting Microsoft buying them and I hope this never comes to pass. Do you know what the chances are, GC?
GC: We’re not legal experts but our understanding is that it’s very low. Foreign companies can buy Japanese firms – Bethesda owns Tango Gameworks, as an example – but Nintendo don’t want to be bought and have tons of cash and broadly sympathetic shareholders. Things can change but we don’t see it happening unless there’s some sort of seismic shift in the industry or in Nintendo’s fortunes.
Zeldas all the way down
Zelda games, to me, have always achieved this magical, untouched immersion to such a high level that in my experience no other games have managed to do, and unlike other franchises most of the games have significant replay value.
Would I place Breath Of The Wild as the best game of all time? Probably not, but only because there are other Zelda games that, due to personal preference, I would rank higher, such as Majora’s Mask or The Wind Waker.
But I would absolutely say that to me, there has never been a franchise more awe-inspiring, diverse, and enjoyable as The Legend Of Zelda.
Stopping a good thing
Interesting to see how well the Switch is still selling in Japan and I can absolutely understand why. The thing is an absolute powerhouse in terms of its games line-up and I imagine being portable makes it particularly appealing to a Japanese audience that has largely given up on home consoles.
I still think the odds are that the Switch 2 will be released in late 2024 but I agree that it is not guaranteed. The Switch is consistent and reliable moneymaker and there’s absolutely nothing reliable about releasing a new console, as Nintendo, Microsoft, and even Sony will tell you.
I think it would take only a small excuse, such as component shortages or a game not being ready, for Nintendo to delay it into 2025.
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I would say I have been making a list of games I complete each year since around 2020. It used to be in the form of a Twitter thread I would update but then this year I came across a website called Backloggd.
If anyone is familiar with the website and app Letterboxd, which you track films on, it’s very similar to that. I track the games I play and you can mark them as finished the main story, 100% complete, playing, shelved, or abandoned and can also write your own reviews and make ranking lists. It’s really good. Unfortunately, there isn’t an app for it yet but I think that’s being worked on.
You can also have friends on there. If anyone wants to add me, I’m Angry_Kurt.
Now playing: The Crew Motorfest (Xbox), F1 22 (Xbox), and Dredge (Steam Deck)
Tricks of the trade
You briefly mentioned magazine tips sections in a reply to a Reader’s letter and it got me thinking back a bit. As I remember it, there’d be a mix of tips (farming 1UP mushrooms in a Mario say) and actual cheat inputs and most were credited to readers who’d written in.
As a youngster, I was always in awe that a random player would tap away on their pad and discover an infinite life cheat or level skip or whatever but, looking back, I’m wondering if all this was a bit smoke and mirrors?
Is it not more likely that magazines were provided with these codes to help enable a full review of the whole game (games were tough in the 90s!) on the proviso of not sharing these until x number of months after release and then readers names were made up and added in to the cheats section?
I’d like a full expose on this scandalous practice please. 1,000 words by Friday.
GC: We don’t know for sure, but we think people were just cracking them and examining the game code, which likely documented the cheats.
Are any other PC gamers becoming frustrated with the Windows operating system, like me? I was so fed up with Windows 10 that I chose to update to 11, only for my old frustrations to be replaced by new ones.
Does any reader have experience of using a different OS on their PC? As I understand it, I should still get access to all my Steam games as they are linked to my Steam account, but do they work properly under Linux, etc.? What about games that use other launchers?
I won’t list all my issues with Windows, but the straw that broke the camels back is when I turn on my PC it will load the OS along with the start-up apps that I have chosen (let’s say Steam, Discord, Battle.net, etc.). Now, often when I do this I may want Discord to be the first thing I engage with, and the icon for it is down on the taskbar along with anything else that is loading in.
As you will know, if two or three things are loading in it will often result in one of the apps being in the foreground on the screen, and perhaps the one you want to see in the background. Usually the easiest way to get to the thing you want is simply click on the icon you want (Discord) in the taskbar, neatly bringing it to the foreground.
Only, some bright sparks at Microsoft have coded it so that all those icons play some kind of crazy dance, zipping up and down the taskbar, as they continue the loading in process.
I end up playing a kind of Windows whack-a-mole game trying to chase after the icon I want.
I appreciate that sounds a little petty, but there are many other frustrations.
I wish Blackberry made desktop OS.
I’ll get my coat.
GC: You should be able to press Alt+Tab to switch between all currently active apps.
Wheely good advice
I just wanted to echo GC’s response to The Dude Abides’ letter in Thursday’s Inbox, which was really helpful and much appreciated by my friends. I think the lucky child in question is likely to get a T300 now, based on that recommendation (and I have selflessly offered to go and help test it out), so a massive thank you! from all concerned.
But to make this letter slightly more obviously games-related; isn’t Cocoon amazing?! You can only wonder at the amount of effort that must go into making something that feels so elegant and intuitive. It’s just starting to make my head hurt now, mind you.
Oh, and finally – because I know how much GC like emails covering a multitude of topics… [snip! – GC]
I read the article about GTA 6 getting an age rating in Australia and the scepticism over an imminent release out of nowhere was obvious. What kind of timeframe would you expect before the age ratings for Europe and the USA were up on the respective rating board’s websites?
That would be proof one way or another. Has such a high-profile game, or close to it, ever been released like that without any warning or marketing beforehand?
If they did do a release that way, it could be a stroke of marketing genius for obvious reasons. But I don’t see what they would gain from it. Rockstar and GTA are big enough to not need to bury the release of any other title or its reviews regardless of what it is or who is releasing it. GTA 6 will sell by the shed load, everyone knows that.
I’m not saying I believe what the age rating in Australia implies but it is an interesting possibility.
GC: Usually they only appear on US and European sites once they’re officially announced. South Korea, Brazil, and Australia are the only countries with a track record of revealing games before they’re supposed to.
The production company named on those GTA Aussie ratings board listings varied from Rockstar to Discord.gg/modder to Alyanna – leading me to think it’s some kind of hack, like you suggested. Although if it is, I’m surprised we haven’t heard from the ratings board to confirm or deny this.
GC: We emailed them and have heard nothing back. For what it’s worth, the listings are still live as we write this.
Good day to you GC, I was just wondering whether you had any plans to review Horizon Chase 2? The first game was fantastic. Also, it is currently only available on the Switch and Apple Arcade, form what I can see. Do you know when it is going to be available on the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5?
GC: It’s a month old now so probably not right now, but we’ll keep an eye out for other console versions, as they are supposed to be coming this year.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Fennel, who asks whether you try to beat every game you play?
There’s been a lot of debate recently, over whether video games are getting too long or bloated, but do you always try to beat them, regardless of their length? What do you count as beating the game and are you happy to move on once you’ve completed the story or do you try and 100% it as well?
How often have you given up when playing a game and what caused you to do so? What’s the shortest amount of time you played a game before giving up?
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The small print
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