Endgame: Top Three Favorite Final Bosses

A common element of video games are boss battles. These are fights that test the player’s skill and ability. So with final bosses, it’s no surprise that they are a true test of skill. Every journey has an endgame, and video games are no exception. These are my top three favorite final bosses in gaming.

WARNING: There are massive spoilers ahead for the games that will be covered. So proceed at your own risk.

#3: Grima – Fire Emblem Awakening

There’s a lot I love about Awakening, and its final boss is no exception. The journey has led the main character and the Shepherds to their fateful encounter with the Fell Dragon Grima. It turns out the protagonist is the vessel of Grima, created to bring the Fell Dragon back into the world. However, given the events of the game, the protagonist chooses to defy their destiny and slay the dragon. Joined by their close friends and allies, the protagonist charges into battle atop the back of Grima.

This battle is a tough one. Players will need to bring their tactical A-game if they want to slay Grima. Plot-wise, it serves as a great ending to a marvelous tale. Also, the music track playing during the battle (Id-Purpose) is phenomenally composed. It adds to the grandness of this final fight. Overall, the final battle against Grima is a very enjoyable one.

#2: The Final Hazard – Sonic Adventure 2

Surprisingly, my favorite game of all time only has my second favorite final boss of all time. However, that is a not a sleight against the Final Hazard. This fight is just plain epic. Two super-powered hedgehogs fight a giant lizard that has merged with a space colony that is on a collision course with Earth. If that isn’t enough, a fantastic rock song is playing in the background too (Live and Learn by Crush 40).

There are only two other things I can say about this battle. One, it is an awesome wrap up to one of my favorite stories in the Sonic franchise. Secondly, it feels so good to lay the smack down on this lizard, especially after an earlier fight with it. All of that combined makes for one heck of a fight.

#1: Primal Dialga – Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky

Here is a game I haven’t talked about yet. Explorers of Sky is a phenomenal game already, and is another one of my favorite games. Consider it a #6 on my previous list. The long and epic journey that led our protagonist and their Pokemon partner to Temporal Spire is finally at an end. At least, it would seem that way. Enraged by the collapse of time, Dialga has gone mad, reverting to a primordial state. It’s up to the duo of Pokemon to defeat the outraged time deity and restore the flow of time.

This is my favorite final boss for many reasons. Primarily, it is an outstanding ending to an awesome story. Plus, I remember spending days as a kid trying to beat Primal Dialga. I will admit as an adult the battle can be pretty simple. If you know your type match-ups in Pokemon, then you’ll have this fight in the bag. However, it is still one of my favorites regardless. Lastly, the track playing throughout this clash (Dialga’s Fight to the Finish) is simply great. It adds an epic level to an already grand face-off.

Final Thoughts

There are numerous other final bosses that I have yet to face. So, this list is subject to change in the coming years. With that being said, what are your favorite final bosses? Let me know in the comments. As always, until next time my fellow nerds, peace.

Way Past Cool: 30 Years of Sonic the Hedgehog

If there is one series I’ve talked about a lot on this blog, it’s Sonic the Hedgehog. This line of games (and other media) is among one of my favorites of all time. Needless to say, I also have an extensive knowledge of the series’ history and lore. So, strap on your running shoes and grab a chili dog, this is a look at the Sonic series.

The Genesis of Sonic

Early on in the 90s, Sega had just released their Genesis console (also called “Mega Drive” in Europe and Japan). It boasted 16-bit graphics and “blast processing” (marketing mumbo-jumbo) that rivaled the Super Nintendo. However, the Genesis lacked a killer app to truly sell the console. Sega needed a mascot with true supersonic power.

Enter programmer Yuji Naka and artist Naoto Ohshima, the two men credited with creating Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic himself went through several different concepts before he became the iconic blue hedgehog. In fact, one of the designs had him as a rabbit.

Concept artwork of Sonic. (Photo credit: SEGAbits)

Once all was settled on the design, the game took shape. Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) was initially released on June 23, 1991 for the Sega Genesis. It would go on to be a modest success for Sega. From there on, the rest is history.

My History With the Series

I remember my first interaction with the Sonic franchise was the animated series simply called Sonic the Hedgehog. It was probably around 2003 when I was at a Blockbuster Video with my parents. I had picked out a VHS of the cartoon because it looked cool. After watching a few episodes, I became a fan. Little did I know that this hedgehog had a whole series of video games, comics, and other media behind him.

The intro to the cartoon. (Credit: 90sCartoonIntros on YouTube)

My earliest memory with the games is with Sonic Advance on the Game Boy Advance and Sonic Adventure 2 Battle on the GameCube. Sonic Advance is a two-dimensional platformer that returned Sonic to his roots. There wasn’t much of a story to the game, but it’s still a very solid experience. It eventually got two sequels.

Sonic Adventure 2 Battle was what completely sold me on the series. As currently being my favorite game of all time, there’s a lot I could say about this game. However, I already covered it in a previous post. Safe to say, the game means a lot to me.

From then on, I was a total Sonic fan. I read the comic books published by Archie Comics, I watched the anime, I bought the music CDs, and I even saw the recent movie. (In my opinion, the movie’s pretty decent!)

Final Thoughts

Though I have my gripes with the series’ current direction, overall I love the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. While I haven’t been around for all 30 years of its history, I’ve seen enough of it to be a fan. What are some game series you love? Let me know in the comments. As always, until next time my fellow nerds, peace,

A Simple Demonstration: The Need for Game Demos

As far back as I can remember, game demos have been a constant in the gaming industry. In the early days, you had demo discs or even kiosks at Toys “R” Us (or other retail stores). Nowadays, you have downloadable demos. However, it seems for a time demos weren’t as common. This week, I’m going to take a brief look at two demos, how they influenced my decision-making, and why demos are a good practice.

Exhibit A: Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl

I knew someday I would get around to talking about Etrian Odyssey, and today’s the day. Untold: The Millennium Girl is a full on remake of the first Etrian Odyssey. This series is a relatively niche one, as it is a first person, dungeon crawling, turn-based JRPG.

I had heard about the series for some time before I tried out the demo for Untold: The Millennium Girl. At the time, the only game I had played that was similar to Etrian Odyssey was Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth. I was at least familiar with the game play style, but everything else was brand new when I played the demo.

It was a bit different from your standard JRPG, which ultimately sold me on the game in time. The main point here is that the demo of the game was solid enough to get me to eventually purchase the full game. I still have yet to finish it, but I’m glad I bought into the Etrian Odyssey series. That is all thanks to the demo.

If you are interested in checking out the demo for yourself, it’s available for free on the Nintendo 3DS eShop.

Battle game play of Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl. (Photo credit: Atlus).

Exhibit B: Balan Wonderworld

Here is a case of high hopes that turned into deep disappointment. To give a bit of background, Balan Wonderworld was being developed by ex-Sonic the Hedgehog developers Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima. These two gents were responsible for creating the Blue Blur. As a big fan of that series, I had my hopes for what they could with Balan Wonderworld.

Needless to say, those hopes were dashed.

When I tried out the demo for this game, I went in with an open mind. However. I just couldn’t bring myself to enjoy what was an unfinished and bland platformer. I’ll admit, I originally planned on buying the game day one. Boy, am I glad this demo came out before the game itself released.

In this case, the demo gave me a good enough feel for Balan Wonderworld. Good enough that I canceled my order for the game. Ultimately, this is a scenario where a demo can help weed out a bad game.

If you are interested in experiencing Balan Wonderworld for yourself, there is still a free demo available on the Nintendo Switch, the PS4/PS5, and Xbox One/Series X.

Screenshot of game play from Balan Wonderworld. (Photo credit: Square Enix).

The Point of It All

Overall, game demos are an important part of the decision-making process for buying a game. They allow you to essentially take the game out for a test run. This helps you come to a decision on whether to a buy a game.

It can even be a source of change for game development. In some cases, some developers use feedback from demos to change or fix their games. This happened with games like Daemon X Machina and Octopath Traveler.

In short, game demos can be a great practice to employ.

Final Thoughts

I think game demos have a lot to offer for consumers and developers alike. What are some game demos that made or broke the game for you? Let me know in the comments. As always, until next time my fellow nerds, peace.

Archiving the Past: Why Game Preservation Matters

With the recent news of Sony shuttering the PS3, PSP, and PS Vita’s online stores, an important question has been raised: how do we preserve video games? This question has been around for quite some time now, but it’s all the more relevant as game companies are pushing for an all-digital future. In this week’s post, I will be breaking down what game preservation is, how it’s done, the challenges facing it, and why it matters.

What is game preservation?

Simply put, it’s exactly as it sounds. Game preservation is the matter of keeping games in-tact and saved for continued (and future) use.

To compare it to other media, think of film archives. There are whole foundations out there dedicated to the preservation of movies. These foundations do this so that older films (or even newer ones) aren’t lost to history. Believe it or not, lots of media ends up getting lost because no one ever thought to save them for later. In fact, it is such a common thing that there are entire forums and communities online dedicated to finding “lost media.”

So, is it as simple as just saving your discs or cartridges for years on end? Not exactly.

How are games preserved?

It really depends on the game’s format. DVD-based games can at least be put in a disc drive on a computer and have their data imaged onto a hard drive. Cartridges, on the other hand, take a bit more of a work-around to preserve. (That could be another post in and of itself, so for the sake of brevity, I will link you to a great post from Hackaday about cartridge preservation).

One way of preserving these games is through emulation. Software emulation allows for games on older consoles like the NES, PlayStation, Sega Dreamcast, and the like to be played on PCs (or even phones). Emulation is a thing that has been around for years now, with some consoles even making use of it these days.

There are other ways of preserving games, though it gets harder for a layman like me to explain. At the end of this post, I will link to other articles that can go into further detail.

The challenges of preservation

To be blunt, nothing lasts forever. Physical media is a great testament to this reality. Over time, the processes on these physical formats like discs and cartridges will be unable to be performed. Whether it be due to age or just physical rot, large sections of data will become inaccessible on these formats.

What about digital media? Well, so long as they are bound to physical devices, they have a limit too. Game consoles after a certain point just stop working, rendering the games on them unplayable.

A huge problem for both digital and physical game owners just reared its head recently with the PS4. According to Twitter user “Does It Play?”, once the internal clock on a PS4 dies, both digital and physical games are unable to be played.

Without even getting into the legal quandaries of game preservation, it is already easy to see why preservation can be challenging. However, I would argue that it’s ultimately worth it.

Why game preservation matters

To be brief, video games are an important part of modern culture. While other forms of media are often preserved, games don’t get the same treatment.

There is a lot to be learned from video games. Business, marketing, development, culture, and trends are just some things that can be gleaned from studying video game history. To lose a vital part of modern technology’s history would be a mistake. Heck, to lose any part of history would be a grave mistake.

Preservation of games and media in general is an integral part of remembering who we are as a species and where we came from. As the old adage rings true: those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it.

Final Thoughts

This was a topic that I wanted to cover for quite some time. Fortunately, the renewed interest in preservation gave me good reason to talk about it. At the end of this post will be links to other articles on the matter and to foundations committed to preserving games. (Just a note, I am not affiliated with any of these sites and am not receiving any type of gain from them).

What do you all think about this issue? Leave your comments and thoughts below. As always, until next time my fellow nerds, peace.

Further Reading



Groups for Video Game Preservation


Home page of the Video Game History Foundation

First Impressions: Rising Up With Monster Hunter Rise

After several months of waiting, it is time to rise up. Monster Hunter Rise came out exactly a week ago from today, and during that time I have already clocked in over 15 hours. However, what are my thoughts on the new Monster Hunter installment? Let’s get into it.

Initial Impressions

My first experience with Rise was the demo released in early January. At the time, I was confused with the controls and new mechanics. It seemed like a cross between World and Generations Ultimate. Some of the new mechanics, primarily the Wirebug and Silkbind Skills, took some time to get used to. Over time, though, I played the demo more and more. I eventually got a hang of the new controls and mechanics.

Then the full game came out, allowing me to experience more of what Rise had to offer. First off, I will have to say this game looks beautiful for what the Nintendo Switch can pull off. The Switch is not a graphical powerhouse like the new generation consoles, but every once in a while it can surprise me. Environments are detailed and vibrant, brimming with the various fauna of the Monster Hunter world. Let me tell you, the monsters look fantastic in Rise.

If it starts singing about the Bare Necessities, I’m grabbing my Heavy Bowgun.

While graphics are nice, what about the game play? Rise retains the same high-octane action from previous titles while having new mechanics. I mentioned them before, but the Wirebug and Silkbind Skills are the new main additions to the game play. The Wirebug allows for increased mobility and maneuverability, something that is very welcomed for Monster Hunter. It adds a new layer of strategy to hunting that is enjoyable. Meanwhile, Silkbind Skills are essentially the replacement for Styles from Generations Ultimate. I think they are just fine, though I do miss the customization Styles allowed for in Generations Ultimate. Overall, I really enjoy the new mechanics introduced here.

Final Thoughts

I think Monster Hunter Rise is a very solid experience so far. It combines what I liked about Generations Ultimate and World into a fresh, new package. I am definitely looking forward to the future updates planned for this game and any possible DLC. I recommend Rise to any Monster Hunter fan. For newcomers, though, I would recommend checking out the demo first to get a feel for the game.

Let me know what you think in the comments! Until next time my fellow nerds, peace.