Hey everyone,

I know it has been a while, but I finally have the new site up. You can expect me to post often on the new one. There is no more free WordPress for me. I motivated myself by paying for a site. Please feel free to follow me over at thenandnowgaming.com. Thanks for all who have followed in the past. Please continue to do so. Happy gaming!

Chad

Hello all,

It is with eagerness that I would like to announce I am moving Then and Now Gamwork real soon. I am moving to the EmptyVoid Network. This is a collaboration that I am working on with my pal to create a pop culture website complete with mostly reviews. We already have a Two Angry Jobbers podcast up and running. On it we discuss professional wrestling. We hope to add an entertainment podcast real soon. I expect the gaming portion will be the same blog column that I have been running, off and on. It is our hopes we can at some point generate revenue for no other reason than to deduct entertainment expenses.

Thanks,

Chad

Nintendo Logo

Hello, all! I know it has been a long time, and I apologize. You know that thing called life gets in the way, and too many times, it is hard to get back on track. Hopefully, we are there, now.

I have a ton of things to talk about. When we were last together, the Wii U was the only next gen system available. Since then, Microsoft has brought out the “One”, and Sony is riding high with the PS4. It is fairly safe to say that Sony has the early lead. I think if you talked with most people from Microsoft their new system has been a little disappointing. The Wii U continues to lag.

I do not own the either Xbox One or the Playstation 4. If there is one thing the Wii U taught me, it is wait for that first price break. Therefore, a lot of my focus will be on what is going on in the World of Nintendo, today. It is no secret that I am a fan of the Big N for better or worse. I am a family man, and the Wii U as well as the 3DS give me the opportunity to enjoy gaming with two children under the age of ten without fear of unnecessary surprises.

Despite the sentiment of main stream media, I enjoy the things Nintendo has done since we last spoke. I think the 3DS has really come into its own as a system. A partnership with Disney on Disney Magical Worlds has been a welcome delight to my daughter for sure, and I would be lying if I didn’t say I sneak in a few minutes of that game every now and then.

The game that has really took me by surprise in the last month is Mario Golf: World Tour. I have never been one for Mario Sports games. I have always been a more traditional sports fan. However, I thought I would take a chance on this game when I looked at just how robust the online element of the game would be. Interestingly enough, I have not been one to tilt to online gaming, either. I have to tell you that if you have a 3DS, you need this game. I have spent more time with the 3DS in the last week than I have in a very long time. It can be played in short bursts. It is just a great game.

The Wii U has obviously been an issue as of late for Nintendo. There is reason to believe that we could be seeing a turn in the near future for the better. Mario Kart 8 hits the shelves in 3 weeks, and if the online functionality of it matches World Tour, we could have a system seller. The game looks gorgeous. Later in the year we receive the Wii U version of the new installment of Smash Brothers. I’m still a little perplexed at the time between the release of the handheld and console version, but regardless, the holidays should be good for the Wii U.

I think all eyes will be on E3. Again, Nintendo has elected to forgo the traditional press conference for a digital version of announcements. Coming on the heels of the latest investors meetings, I am personally anticipating what Nintendo plans to do with the Toys-to-Games genre. I think it is pretty obvious I am a sucker for these, and this is no exception. With a promised holiday release date at this time, this could give the Wii U another bump.

I guess all of this will work itself out, and it just one month we will have a clearer understanding of just what Nintendo plans to do to right the ship.

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There are people that influence your lives directly. You know the people that you see every day that help mold you into the person you become. You adopt their mannerisms and beliefs. They make you who you are. When they pass, they leave a whole sometimes that never is filled.

Then, there are others that influence your life indirectly. This can be for the good or the bad as with the previous mentioned, but these people you may never meet. However, that does not necessarily mean they were any less important to who you have become, and Hiroshi Yamauchi is one such person to me. If you are reading this article, chances are, he was the same thing to you.

I didn’t know who this man even was until well into adulthood, but I instantly felt a link to him. He took over for Nintendo of Japan in 1949. He served as the head of Nintendo of Japan until 2002. He severed on the Board of Directors until 2005. He passed away, yesterday at the age of 85.

There is no doubt that gaming has been a big part of my life. I liken it to the radio or television for my parents and grandparents’ era. It opened up a new world to me. It opened up a world of imagination to me. I could take control of a hero and save the day. I could bust through a line to score a touchdown. It was truly endless possibilities, and he was primarily responsible for it.

Obviously, I did not know him personally, but I am still grateful for the life he lived. He truly is one of the most influential people of gaming, and he will forever be remembered.

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Sometimes, you just get the longing to play old school games. After picking up the Wii U, I have been feeling nostalgic. The same thing happened with the Wii. Every time I open a new Nintendo system, it reminds me of some of the great games from the past.

These days I satisfy that urge with emulators. I don’t really keep the games. It’s basically play it once or twice, and then I just get rid of it. I only do this now because my Nintendo has bought the farm. I tried the Retro Duo, but I just never could keep it in running order. I digress.

One of the problems with an emulator is the feel of the controller. I know they make controllers now that look like the old NES or SNES controller, but there is just a decidedly different feel. Well, that has all changed thanks to the Mayflash Wii Classic Controller Adapter for the PC.

The Wii Classic Controller plays real close to the old controllers. It is also a Nintendo product so it could be psychological, but I love using it with the virtual console games. I know you can use the Wii Remote, but the buttons feel a little smaller to me and the start select configuration is all wrong.

The great thing about this adapter is that there are no drivers to load. It is plug, configure, and play. I have a Windows 8 HTPC, and it recognized the controller inside GameEx immediately. The only drawback as of writing is more of a quirk than anything else. There are two controller ports on the adapter, and they are reversed from what is normal in the west. Controller 1 plugs into the right port, and Controller 2 plugs into the left.

This adapter may die on me, tomorrow, but as of now, I am really enjoying it. Maybe at long last, I can finally beat the NES version of the Rocketeer.

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Sometimes games are not necessarily the best games, but they still find a way to be a perfect 10. It may be because the are rip roaringly hilarious. It may be because despite their faults they are just good old fashion fun. Other times though, they conjure up a feeling. They give you a special moment where you feel the magic of the world you are in, or you connect with someone or some thing. It’s kind of like that special song.

I have had the pleasure of having that moment this week. I picked up my Wii U just about three weeks ago. Honestly, I bought it because I wanted to play Disney Infinity on it, and I knew I would need one someday for the backwards compatibility. I thought that Infinity would be a great way to get the kids into gaming.

They enjoy video games. We have played through both Skylander games. They have enjoyed watching me play through other games like Epic Mickey or New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but in the end, the magic of gaming has not really caught on. That is until this past weekend.

Sonic Racing Transformed has always been on my to purchase list. I had to fight to keep from getting it for the PS3. I was holding out for the Wii U because I like the idea of no split screen. GameStop ran a Buy 2 Get 1 pre owned games for Power members this weekend so I thought, why not?

When I got home, we were on our way to church so we didn’t get a chance to crack the game open. My little girl was invited to spend the night at a friends house because of the holiday, afterwards. That left my five year old with no one to play with. I thought it would be okay if he stayed up a little longer so I thought I would show him the new racing game.

Two hours after his bed time, we finally had to turn the game off. He had a blast. He had gotten pretty good on easy level, and we were unlocking tracks left and right, but alas, mom was too worried it would throw him off of his sleep schedule for school. Long story short, as his mom was tucking him into bed I heard him say, “Mom, I had a lot of fun playing with daddy tonight!”

You know, then and there you automatically realize just how precious time is. You realize how great making memories are. Sonic Racing Transformed is a solid game. Is it the perfect racing game? No, but it will forever and always be a ten to me.

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All of you know that I am a sucker for Skylanders. What you may not know is I am also a sucker for all things Disney. So, you can imagine, I was extremely excited, and this game stayed at the top of my most wanted list from about the time of the announcement.

My dreams finally became a reality a couple of weeks ago. I just like to start by saying this is a real hard game to review. I’m not sure you can actually put a number on it. If I were to do this justice, I would most likely need to review each play set separately, but then, there is Toy Box mode.

I started out by playing the Pirates of the Caribbean play set. If you are not familiar with this game, each play set is open world. There is the main story line, and there are several smaller missions to complete along the way. As an extra bonus you pick up Toys for your Toy Box Collection. I have to admit I was always looking forward to seeing what I would get next. It was a lot like opening up a package of baseball or football cards.

The main story for Pirates is pretty linear, and if you aren’t into completing all of the missions, it does not take very long to get through, maybe two or three hours. The same can be said for each play set. If you do all of the missions, they say you get eight to ten hours. I really enjoyed Pirates. It had a nice variety of gameplay. I enjoyed the open sea battles.

I next played Monsters University. I really did not care very much for this playset. It felt like more of a grind for me to complete. The missions were short the story was not really that intriguing. However, I really liked the toys that you open. I actually liked the toys more in Monsters than I did Pirates.

The final playset was the Incredibles. I deliberately saved this one for last. I really enjoyed the movie, and I have always wondered why they never made a sequel. You can imagine the excitement when I had heard this was coming with the starter pack.

I know some have not enjoyed it, but I really liked it. It is a lot of big dumb fun, and I like big dumb fun. Is it hard? Not really, but I just love the characters, and this play set stays pretty true to them. Of course, I love the toys in this set to open as well. The glider, hover board, and car are all great to play with. I would say this was probably my favorite, but I am a bit biased.

This brings us to Toy Box mode. I can see many, many blog entries for the things the public comes up within Toy Box mode. They have built Infinity to be a platform across multiple platforms, and they are to be commended for it. There is literally so much you can do with this, and as the game matures and players get more familiar with it, I expect amazing creations.

Is this a perfect game? No. Is it worth the insane amount of money you might spend getting everything? For me, I am okay with everything except the blind pack power discs. There is just too many opportunities for multiples. Am I so hooked that I will be broke by the end of the year? Most likely!

Final Score…a Real Solid 8/10 (I guess you can put a number on this.)

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