Best Nintendo Switch Games For Family Fun: Super Mario Bros. Wonder

Gaming as a family is a great way to bond and spend quality time together. I actually met a mom and her son in December of 2023 and motivated her to not only get a Nintendo Switch for her son but... also look forward to taking advantage of their time together by joining in on one of his favorite pastimes. That's the goal, bond, talk, laugh, enjoy your family time... and make memories that will last a lifetime. As mentioned before... gaming can be a great way to teach kids about teamwork, problem-solving, and competition in a healthy and fun way.

In addition to games relieving stress and delivering fun, there are some titles that provide additional benefits that most movies & TV shows don't deliver. You can learn different languages, how to build computers, how to type or improve WPM's, and then some.

In the case of Super Mario Bros. Wonder, your children learn about teamwork, which is a great thing to instill at an early age so that they know the importance of working with others and not feeling as if they have to do everything alone. Serve up some cheddar-filled mushrooms and other goodies and enjoy your family game night!

Super Mario Bros. Wonder... features 4-player fun that not only gives you the ability to take on baddies on the road to fighting big bad Bowser, but you can revive each other while taking on these colorful stages and their varying challenges. This will certainly come in handy for some during those difficult times on this wonder-full adventure.

In addition to Mario & Luigi, you also have Princess Peach + Princess Daisy representing for the ladies, team Toadstool which includes Toadette + the Blue & Yellow Toads, and Nabbit. Nabbit is one of those characters for individuals who want to join in on family fun... but don't exactly have the noticeable skills to pay the bills. Why? Well, he's invincible, so... no worries about him taking L's, but I still feel like he should be reserved for the individuals who would normally watch from the sidelines. He could be a great stepping stone for them, potentially challenging them to use one of the main characters one day.

This game also features the Yoshi crew, which adds another level of fun. Yoshi allows you to eat enemies, and items, carry other players, and more. Speaking of items on this crazy adventure... you have things like:

Elephant Fruit, which allows you to transform into an elephant able to swing its trunk and trounce enemies, but also other cool moves like smashing through bricks from the side.

Bubble Flower does exactly what you assume, you can use bubbles to defeat baddies or bounce on them to get over certain areas with less effort or reach new heights.

Drill Mushroom gives you the ability to not only drill through the ground like... Mr. Driller, but also through the ceiling... and the list of power-ups goes on.

The replay value goes a long way, which includes badges:

Action Badges - Grants an additional action to your character, like a Parachute Cap that lets you float down slowly after a jump.

Boosts Badges - Gives your character an additional passive ability, like earning coins for defeating enemies.

Expert Badges - This grants an advanced skill to your character, "experts only!".

What's different about this experience compared to other games like New Super Mario Bros games... is what it offers as far as creativity goes. You'd think we were on the dev team with the way they've dialed up the weird in this game, but... to be honest I also get that Super Mario World feeling too. Speaking of which... I'd love to see a Super Mario World remake either in full 2D or 3D. Super Mario Bros. Wonder is available now. Grab a physical copy or a digital copy.

  • Find wonder in the Flower Kingdom in the next side-scrolling Super Mario adventure

  • Collect Wonder Flowers for surprising, game-changing effects like pipes coming alive, an enemy stampede, and much, much more

  • Choose from the largest cast of characters in a side-scrolling Mario game, including Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, and other favorites

  • Ease into the action with four different-colored Yoshis and Nabbit who can’t take damage

  • Discover new power-ups like Elephant Fruit, which transforms Mario and friends into an elephant that can swing their trunks and spray water

This game is rated E for Everyone!

Hackers Strike Again: When Will The Game Industry... Strike Back?

The Game Industry is still taking losses due to the relentless attacks from hackers.

In order to mitigate these damages, it might be beneficial for studios to explore alternative approaches when utilizing the internet, especially if internet access is available on all systems. That's a door just waiting for hackers to access time and time again.

One potential solution could be to implement an intranet system or improve it, which would allow them to test unfamiliar software on specific bait systems (although tried and true software should be the route to go if anything). At least by confining potential attacks to bait systems, they can assess and proceed with caution on designated systems that require internet access for downloading and sending necessary information. This is in theory, but it is crucial for the industry to start going... hard in the paint with... preventive measures to ward off attacks. It wouldn't hurt to develop effective traps to catch hackers or even incentivize whistle-blowers. Money talks. 

One creative trap I really admired was one created by Devolver Digital for... Serious Sam 3. If you don't remember, let's just say pirates couldn't enjoy illegal copies of the game because a trap was set. Sure you could play it, but you couldn't enjoy it because a relentless unbeatable enemy was after you non-stop. I've mentioned this before, but it comes to mind when this topic pops up. I think some pretty cool ideas could emerge to give hackers a run for their money.

Both Insomniac and Rockstar Games have recently fallen victim to these attacks, and we are hopeful that the implementation of solid technologies and strategies will effectively eliminate any unauthorized access that ultimately affects upcoming projects and developers. Fingers crossed.

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Candy Cane Lane... Reviewed!

Story: Candy Cane Lane, is a heartwarming holiday film directed by Reginald Hudlin, evoking this sense of nostalgic charm reminiscent of Eddie Murphy's comedic genius. The plot, starting with a seemingly innocent friendly rivalry between neighbors vying for the best Christmas decorations, takes an unexpected twist as a mischievous elf plans to turn Christmas nut... Chris Carver (Eddie Murphy) into something... festive. This playful concept piqued my interest and set the tone for this comedic adventure.

I challenged myself to actually approach this film without thinking of Eddie's body of work because a number of younger viewers don't know how awesome he is as an actor (including my 6-year-old daughter). It honestly didn't matter, because this film has a nice amount of depth and pulled me in based on the story and things that a number of adults can relate to. I couldn't help but think about some of his previous work though... because... there was a scene that immediately pulled me into Beverly Hills cop (when he was at work). They set the plot up nicely before the crazy began. It gave Chris the motivation that justified the circumstances that landed him in hot water.

Candy Cane Lane effortlessly captures the spirit of Christmas but I could watch this off-season (to be honest)... similar to Home Alone movies. Outside of the zany action, this film also pushes the importance of embracing teamwork and working together as a family, which allowed the Carver family to eventually flex the power of their family unit. It illustrates how a common goal can bring people together, transcending differences and fostering a sense of togetherness that isn't delivered in a way that only fits one age group. Minus the use of swearing when all hell broke loose at school (which was said once)... it's a family film, which if your children have seen Home Alone films... they've heard a certain three-letter word before. By the way, this film is rated PG.

Overall, Candy Cane Lane is a solid film with a nice cast, but I do have a few things to critcize. D.C. Young Fly was also in the film... basically as himself, and while it worked for the most part... I want to see more of his range as he moves forward. Another thing was a few of the scenes that didn't make sense to me, like when Nick ran off and went to the school's music room. I understand why he ran off, but... that was just weird that he'd automatically go to the music room. They made it cohesive with the drama that unfolded on the field, so I shrugged it off and kept it moving. In addition, another scene that threw me off was when Holly went outside after the family went on lockdown. She turned off the alarm and everything, and I was like... "Where in the heck are her parents? No one is hearing this?!", but luckily these scenes didn't send the film rolling into the Christmas lights. Pun intended.

Visuals: Going into the film, I didn't know what to expect visually, but when I noticed that they were going in this over-the-top direction... it excited me. The story pulled me in before I saw the Kringle's store, but then I was like... "Oooo, what is this?". There is a nice mix of great-looking shots that married the real world and the magic eventually rained upon it.

The scene below features Chris' wife, Carol Carver at work... and looking stunned as something lands on her vehicle. I won't tell you why, but... you get visuals from various angles in this film to cover the action. Birds eye view, worms eye view, mids, highs, and more. One of my favorite shots was a big closeup, it looked great and should turn heads in regards to fans of animation. By the way, I'm not referring to Peppermint's team, although the good guys and baddies looked great. The only thing that didn't look as realistic to me was the milk blast, but other than that... no complaints.

The porcelain people really brought this film to life along with their mixture of personalities, and that's on top of the things that occurred before this set of characters were introduced (they were a surprise scoop of ice cream that was served alongside an unexpected slice of cake).

In addition, the bright and colorful Christmas decorations, coupled with the cozy neighborhood setting, create a magical ambiance that immerses viewers in the holiday spirit. The attention to detail in the special effects adds an extra layer of whimsy, seamlessly blending fantasy elements that maintain the Christmas spirit.

Audio: The audio in Candy Cane Lane is lively and enhances the various scenarios that take place. Each scene has sound effects that get in where they fit in, whether it's suspense, competition, the sounds of clinging porcelain, and the list goes on. The music works well for this film as well, and outside of the music tucked into certain scenes, there's also a track compliments of Nick based on his music aspirations. It's cohesive. One thing I couldn't determine in regards to the audio... is the audio technology. I didn't find a listing regarding Dolby or DTS, but... I was able to enjoy surround sound audio in 5.1 channel. It would be nice if Amazon listed this information, but they probably assume that it's pointless.

Price: If you have Amazon Prime... Candy Cane Lane is free to enjoy with your subscription. So what can I say, even if you aren't into holiday films (that would be me), this one may be up your alley a tad more than the traditional ones. I'd put this in a category with Home Alone, Jingle All the Way, Elf, The Christmas Chronicles, and films like that. It delivers action-packed fun with a Christmas theme. So grab some hot cocoa, kick back, and let this cheerful tale take you on a laughter-filled journey through the whimsical world of Candy Cane Lane.

Story 5

Visuals 5

Audio 5

Price 5

5 out of 5 Cool Points

 + Sophima 

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Happy Holidays to All + Sound Station Vibrant Loops Vol. 1 + Free Games!

Whether your Country topped the list or not... we want to wish you a peaceful & joyous holiday that spills over into 2024 and floods the entire year in awesomeness worldwide. There are enough amazing people in the world to make it even better, some of whom we game with on a daily basis. So press play, raise your glass, rep with other viewers... and grab a free game (just don't attempt to fist pump with your drink in hand)!

Cheers to all!

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Free Games... Everyday... for a Limited Time!

Back To The Future w/ SEGA!

Before I even jump into this article, take a look at this video which reveals some of the awesomeness I've been waiting to see for quite some time (some of you may have seen it at the Video Game Awards 2023):

If you didn't know, now you know that SEGA is going back to the future... by way of diving into its legacy to bring new games to the forefront from familiar franchises. Crazy Taxi & Jet Set Radio were IP's served up to us on the Dreamcast, and were great titles worth being added to a collector's library (I still have these games for my system). It was great to see the games being brought back on the scene because... there's a place for them. Sega should have peeped game awhile ago (I mean... look at Capcom).

Crazy Taxi on the Dreamcast + Arcade focused on picking up people... and getting to their locations in time by any means necessary, while racking up bonuses for drifting, etc. The game was buttery smooth, wacky, and fun and I hope to see the locations expand in the pending game along with the various challenges that take advantage of the online multiplayer. Back then, SEGA took a bold step to make the console capable of connecting to the internet, but... it wasn't there yet. So I'm curious what modes are going to be available today, now that online multiplayer is a major staple in games now.

Jet Set Radio was so fun and also ran buttery smooth. The art style was undeniable, and... the music kept you rocking as you tagged the various locations (with graffiti) and took on rival crews. The fun factor was through the roof, and I had to force myself to put the controller down for various titles on the console. 

Those titles included Crazy Taxi + Jet Set Radio, so Christmas came early for me with these two reveals, not to mention the Streets of Rage reveal.

Granted there was an awesome 2D Streets of Rage 4 game released in 2020, but It's great to see that Sega is keeping the party going by bringing it back in a new way. This adds to the multiplayer fun that each of the mentioned games is going to bring... and this actually takes me back even further because we played the crap out of these Streets of Rage games on Sega Genesis and Sega CD (via Final Fight CD). My cousin and I played Final Fight CD's survival mode for hours. I can hear the music now, good times.

I'm going to keep the focus on multiplayer for now... with Golden Axe. I remember playing the 1989 game in the laundry mat. It was a fun multiplayer game and did things that were quite impressive to me for a 2D game. Not only could you mount various animals, but you could arm yourself with melee weapons at the same time + use magic and all that good stuff. The victories were rewarding because it truly felt like a battle from stage to stage, so I'm curious to see what the results will be in the upcoming installment.

Last but not least... the Shinobi reveal looks fantastic as well and appears to have 2D comic-style art (which may contain some 3D cel-shade elements... which appears to ). It seemingly has a depth served up at a nice scale, including various platforming challenges to put fans and newcomers to the test. I can't predict what any of these games will play like, but if they serve up new experiences with great controls and fun factors that make us come back for more... it's safe to call these a win.

This could be a move that Sega is making to have the resources to develop even better Sonic games as well. Remember... they want to take on Mario to a serious degree, so we shall see where all this goes. Either way... I'm excited, and what made it even better... is the fact that it wasn't a rerelease of old games. The classics are saluted, but it's great to get something new by way of the classics (remakes are a beautiful thing) and I can't wait to see the trajectory of Sega over the next decade.

If you haven't seen The Video Game Awards 2023... grab some popcorn, click play, and... enjoy!