SNES Classic Edition Announced for September 2017

Nintendo created quite a stir yesterday when the company announced the SNES Classic Edition, the long rumored follow-up to last year’s NES Classic. The SNES Classic will launch on September 29 of this year with 21 games and two SNES pads. The unit will retail for $79.99. It should go without saying this will be a rare holiday gift this year. If you plan to get one (or several), you should bump it up on your priority list. While Nintendo says they’re ramping up production to meet anticipated demand, they don’t plan to continue making them after this year. So if you don’t manage to get one on the 29th, it’s likely you’ll have to deal with scalpers on the River and the Bay.

Enough of that. Here’s the breakdown of the games:

SNES Classic Games (First Party)

  • Super Mario World
  • Super Mario Kart
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
  • F-Zero
  • Super Metroid
  • Super Punch-Out!!
  • Kirby Super Star
  • Kirby’s Dream Course
  • StarFox
  • Yoshi’s Island
  • Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
  • Earthbound

And, of course, StarFox 2 – the finished-but-unreleased sequel to StarFox – will be included on the roster.

If you were to take a survey of all the Nintendo games that anybody owned in the SNES era, you would probably see all of those listed. This is a sampling of the golden age of the Big N’s game development prowess. Two Kirby games seem excessive; I would have rather have seen Pilotwings (yes really), but that’s a small quibble. There’s only one glaring omission to my eyes: SimCity.

SNES Classic Games (Third Party)

    • Street Fighter II Turbo (Capcom)
    • Super Castlevania IV (Konami)
    • Donkey Kong Country (Rare)
    • Mega Man X (Capcom)
    • Contra III The Alien Wars (Konami)
    • Secret of Mana (Squaresoft)
    • Final Fantasy III (Squaresoft)
    • Super Ghouls & Ghosts (Capcom)

The Third party list happens to include three of my favorite games ever. In fact, astute readers of this blog will remember my posts about SFII Turbo from earlier this year. (And didn’t I just write something about Contra?) Again, I challenge you to find somebody who lived through the SNES years and didn’t play, own or hear of any of these games. I’m a little disappointed that Chrono Trigger wasn’t included, but if I’m being honest, I’d take Secret of Mana over that title any day. I had my fingers crossed that Mortal Kombat II would make the list, important as it was to the history of the console, but I’m not surprised it’s not here. That game doesn’t fit in with the tenor of the library anyway.

There are some other third party titles that would have been nice to have: Turtles in Time and Final Fight come to mind immediately. But these are minor, entitled complaints. There’s hundreds of hours of gameplay here. Many of these games appear high on everybody’s “Best of all Time/Greatest of all Time” lists, year after year.

StarFox 2

Game Informer was nice enough to repost a video that breaks down StarFox and StarFox 2. I’ve embedded this video below (about 7 minutes long).

Super Shortage

We’ll close this with a few words about the SNES Classic’s life cycle. Several outlets have noted that the Nintendo will produce “significantly more” than the 2.3 million units that ultimately got shipped for the NES Classic. According to the company, it will only ship the system from September 29 until the end of the year. So again, if you’re keen on owning this novelty item, you better plan ahead and set aside significantly more cash than 80 bucks plus tax. I was able to get an NES Classic thanks to my wife, and she admitted she paid “a few times” more than its list price. Frankly it sucks, but this is par for course for the console maker and the aftermarket guys.

From Nintendo’s mouth:

“Our long-term efforts are focused on delivering great games for the Nintendo Switch system and continuing to build momentum for that platform, as well as serving the more than 63 million owners of Nintendo 3DS family systems,” reads the statement. “We are offering Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Super NES Classic Edition in special recognition of the fans who show tremendous interest our classic content.”

Consider that your fair warning. This is truly a limited edition thing. Of course, if all you care about the games, most of them are already available on the Virtual Console…and other ways. And if you really want to own the authentic article, you can shell out cash for the originals and any of the Retro consoles out there, or even an original SNES.

I wonder if they’re planning to do this for the Nintendo64.

Fantasy Baseball Update Week 12

The Makers lost a third straight week, 370 to 416. As has become the familiar refrain throughout 2017, the pitching blew up in do-or-die spots, and the offense just couldn’t do enough to make up the ground. In the league message board, somebody pointed out that my opponent clobbered people despite the fact that six of his guys were on the DL. He got two of those back in our matchup, but the story was the same. Despite that this didn’t feel like a winnable match up to me, more like a coin toss. It came up L for me again, so, what more can I say?

Scoring Summary

Offense

The offense put up 278 points, which is a 24 point decrease from the previous week. The best hitter was Ian Kinsler with 42 points; his teammate Jose Iglesias did the worst with 2 points. On the whole, the sluggers scored 49 runs, hit 30 homers, 31 extra base hits (XBH), 153 total bases, and 40 RBIs. Rounding out the stat line: four game winning RBIs; 27 walks; 68 strikeouts, four sacs, and eight stolen bases.

Pitching

The pitching contributed 92 points, an absurd increase of 86 points from their awful week 10. The best pitcher was none other than out good friend Jose Quintana, with 34 points. The worst was the hitherto excellent Jeff Hoffman, annihilated on his turn out for negative 29 points. The Makers pitching staff managed to tally only two Wins while eating four Losses. The pitchers’ stat line looked like this: 207 IP, -60 hits, -35 ERA, -64 ER, -7 HR, -22 BB, 65 K, 5 Saves, 1 Blown Save, and 3 Holds. I’m surprised they only surrendered seven homers.

Roster Changes

I made a pair of moves on the last day in an attempt to make up the 40 point deficit with my opponent. I picked up Diamondbacks spot starter Randall Delgado as he had a favorable matchup, and the Cub’s long man turned starter, Mike Montgomery. To make space for these two, I finally let go of Lance Lynn, as he’s been awful the last few weeks, and Marco Estrada, the hero of May who turned into a pumpkin in June. Neither guy ended up making a huge difference; I think they tallied 20 points. But they did well, considering that Lynn and Estrada accounted for a net negative of 32 points during the week. In fact, if you add in Hoffman’s disaster start, these three guys cost the Makers 61 points. Just benching them would have easily put me in for the Win.

Week 13 Outlook

We’re entering into the All-Star Break, and the schedule is a tad wonky. From all the league notes I’ve read on ESPN and Fantasy Pros, it appears that the pitching matchups are pretty horrendous this week. With that in mind, I won’t be trying any sudden moves. My opponent this week is just a game better than me regarding his record. He’s done much better in the league in the past, but he’s been snakebit by injuries like most of us. He’s coming off a tough loss to the league champion in which his squad didn’t even break 300 points. I’m not sure that he’ll repeat that bad performance this week as he does have a team that can explode for points on any given day. In that regard though, the Makers are much the same.

I’m going to cautiously predict a Win for my team, given the bad schedule but favorable match ups for many of my hitters.

Season Outlook

Boy, the month of June went about as bad as it possibly could have. Three straight losses by a combined total of 55 points are hard for any fantasy owner to swallow. To make matters worse, my inattention to my team cost me at least 45 points, just by leaving key guys on the bench. What a difference a few tactical roster moves would have made to my record: I can dream of a 7-5 record right now (9-3 if the cards came up in my favor in those two BS losses in the first two months). But as it stands, the Makers are 4-8 and are still in 11th place overall in the standings.

So far, the Makers have scored 3986 points while allowing 4330 points. If you project out until the end of the season, my team will get just about 7,000 points, which is far short of the 10,000 or so I predict somebody needs to win the league. I don’t want to get into post-mortem mode yet with the season barely half over, but on the face of it, not carrying many closers (or any at all) have made things worse on the pitching front. The only category my team leads in is Loses (49). They’re dead last in Saves with 12. Something for me to consider if I stay on for next year.

Can the Makers go 7-2 the rest of the way to end up over five hundred? I doubt it. But they may yet still pick up three more wins needed to have a better record than last year. Even now that seems like an impossible goal, but after next week I should be back in my division, where the last place team and I can scrap with each other for worst-in-the-league honors for at least two more games. Wish me luck?

Thanks for reading this week.

Commander Tonight

Sorry for the short posts lately, I’ve been preoccupied with a few other projects and obligations. But tonight I’m excited to be trying out a new lgs in my area, in my hometown as a matter of fact. It’s EDH night, so my gaming group and I are going to check it out and bring a few of our decks.

I’m going to roll out there with my Slivers tribal deck that I’ve nicknamed “Infinite Slivers,” due to its win-con. I also have a slightly souped up Breya deck (Commander 2016 precon) that I want to give a shot at the tables.

In the future I may write about my local EDH league, but the games have been so infrequent – and it’s so hard to keep track of the plays – that it might not be worth the effort.

Sega Forever revealed as free mobile games

Sega Forever, on your phone.

SEGA!

I saw a Sega fan site was abuzz when the company revealed a brand redesign to the other. Now, I don’t know if Sega Forever is a part of that push. But it may well be. As you can see from the tweet above, this morning Sega revealed the series of games that will be going “live in the next 24 hours”:

  • Sonic The Hedgehog
  • Altered Beast
  • Phantasy Star II
  • Kid Chameleon
  • Comix Zone

From Sega’s website:

FREE CLASSIC GAMES ON MOBILE
SEGA® Forever™ is a free and growing classic games collection of nearly every SEGA game ever released from every console era – Master System, Genesis/MegaDrive, Dreamcast, and more. Available on iOS and Android mobile devices.

When I have a chance I’ll give these games a whirl and see how the ports handle. For me, this is coming on the heels of the equally mysterious “Atari Box” announcement last week. Sure, Sega hasn’t returned to the hardware business – they would be insane to in my opinion, but stranger things have happened – but this is a good start. I don’t know why more companies don’t leverage their back catalogs in this fashion. I know there’s an incredible amount of conversion work involved to modernize a lot of these titles. It would seem to me that the costs would be outweighed by the nostalgia buyers, though.

Of course, I don’t think Sega (or anybody else) would be willing to port the weird games I like to play and watch. A man can dream though. A man can dream.

Fantasy Baseball Update: Weeks 10 and 11

The Makers are coming off two tough back-to-back losses, and now have a record of 4-7 on the season. They’re sitting in 11th place. I want to avoid the pity party shuffle to woulda-coulda-shoulda; suffice it to say I’m not pleased with losing by a combined total of 9 points. Anyhow, here’s the breakdown of weeks 10 and 11:

Week 10

Recall that I was not confident going into Week 9, and the Makers delivered on that end. That is, until Saturday, when they put up an astonishing 120 points against my opponent’s 14. Suddenly they had vaulted into the lead. They outscored him again on the last day, 54 to 46, but I ended up losing by one point: 332 to 331. A bad performance by Adam Wainwright on June 6 against the Reds – to tune of -30 points – sunk me. I also stupidly left Andrew Miller riding the pine on a day he picked up a save – for 10 points – that would have made the difference. C’est la vie. The offense scored 243 points while the pitching tallied 88 points for the week. Tough loss.

Week 11

Instead of getting to 0.500, I was now 4-6 and smarting from the agony of a one-point loss. With E3 going on I paid little attention to my team, and that’s on me. Despite the loss, I could feel the momentum shifting toward me. The first day confirmed that for me, on what was an off day for most teams, the offense put up 72 points. I knew the match was going to be a tough slog, but the next day they scratched another 63 points. The score stood at 145 to 95. Not exactly a huge lead, but I was confident enough to let my team stay on autopilot while I watched E3 coverage. A bad portent though: Andrew Miller, who had been solid all season, exploded in back to back appearances.

I left Quintana languishing on the bench, but he turned in a good start. I would come to regret this as Cueto, Wainwright, and Lynn were all horrendously bad. Estrada was also terrible. For all that, the Makers stayed in the lead until the weekend. By Saturday, my opponent had closed the gap to a mere 10 points. Wainwright started in Baltimore, so I left him on the bench and dodged his disaster start (-35 points). I thought I had weathered the storm, but I noted that my opponent had two starters going Sunday. I was nervous about Lynn but had to take the chance. Alas, like his teammate Wainwright, he was knocked out for -22 points. At midnight, I still led by 8 points, but a late win from Dave Price put my opponent ahead. Some other guys put up an additional 6 points to wrap up my defeat.

So the Makers took their seventh loss in the midnight hour, 316 to 308. My offense contributed 302 points. The simple arithmetic should be enough to show you how breathtakingly bad the pitching did.

Season Outlook

I’m going to skip the usual Week Outlook since it’s already started, and there’s not much for me to say. On paper, my opponent and I are evenly matched, but with my pitching personifying High Risk, Medium Reward, there’s not much to analyze. Every matchup feels like a crapshoot. Including this week there are ten games left to play. To get one game over five hundred and accomplish my goal, they need to win seven games. Can the Makers play .700 ball the rest of the way? We’re going to find out.

E3 2017 Thoughts and Reactions

Quick post today for my final E3 2017 thoughts. Firstly, Happy Father’s Day to the dads out there. I’ll be resuming a regular schedule now that E3 is over. Starting tomorrow I’ll give an update on the Makers from the last two weeks, and we’ll get back to Read From Memory: FFVII and some long plays, among other things.

If you need a refresher, I listed all of the games that got some time during the pressers:

“Winner” of E3 2017

Anway, my E3 2017 thoughts: Overall I found the pressers underwhelming this year. I know the game journos get obsessed with who “won” E3. In my view, as the media gets more democratized every year, the trade show has become less important. Can anybody actually “win” an event that’s becoming irrelevant? But we should respect tradition, right? And we have our pet companies or products we like to root for and see do well. So if I had to choose, I would give “Winner of E3 2017” to Ubisoft. They had a strong presentation: they didn’t pander with social media stars like EA and didn’t show off a collection of trailers for games we already knew about (Bethesda). They also get points for showing off original IP. Skull & Bones looked spectacular.

And come on, they announced Beyond Good & Evil 2. It may not be on the same tier as say Half-Life 3 as far as legendary whales still out there, but it was getting close. I have some reservations about Ancel’s opus, as do others, particularly about the tone and feel of the game.  But for now, let’s bask in the glow of the fact that the sleeper hit of 2003 is finally getting its long overdue sequel.

Console Makers at E3

I wasn’t particularly enthused by the Microsoft presser, though I admit they did much better this year overall in their presentation. The XBox One X (X.B.O.X.), formerly Project Scorpio, feels pricey at $500. This appears to be a new precedent with this generation: initial release of the platform; a slim-line revision of the hardware and price drop; a “1.5” hardware update half way through the cycle; followed by an ultra souped-up version to round it out. But something tells me that you whiffed when the most buzz you produce is from backward compatibility with your very old games and a controversy over an indie developer’s 3-year-old tweets.

Sony coasted this year, despite their very impressive stage theatrics. Ending the conference with a lengthy Spider-man demo says it all. But they may have earned it. Four years into this generation of consoles, it’s pretty safe to say that Sony has “won” the battle this round. I wonder about their commitment to VR. There are some impressive looking games, but the jury’s still out if it remains a fad. Practically speaking a $800+ buy-in for the tech is still a bit too rich for my blood for novelty. As for the rest, I just want to play the games at this point: God of War 4, a new Uncharted, etc.

As for Nintendo, well, they’ve cut down on their press conferences, which I still think was a wise move on their part. Metroid Prime 4 got a pretty announcement trailer and generated the associated buzz, though I’m still a little mystified that they chose not to give the Samus Returns remake any time during the presentation. Mario Odyssey looks fantastic, and the news about the core Pokemon RPG was somewhat exciting for a quite a few. Nintendo remains a unique creature. I would like to see more for the Switch regarding third party support, though with Rocket League, Minecraft cross platform with Xbox, and their own version of Skyrim, FIFA, etc., I grudgingly admit that they’ve got most of the bases covered.

Panels

I only managed to catch one panel with Hideo Kojima. It was what you would expect: a softball session mainly about the movies he enjoys and some of his philosophy on making games that we’ve all heard him talk about before. As promised, there was no news about Death Stranding at all. I wonder if the lingering conflict with Konami is having any effect on the game’s delivery? The best place to find out about the influence movies had on Kojima as a designer remains a series of essays he wrote over ten years ago for PlayStation UK magazine. They appear (in Japanese…) in the promotional book Metal Gear Solid Naked, but some translations are floating around on the net if you dig.

In closing, E3 2017 wasn’t a great show, and it reflects the declining importance of the big gala on the West Coast. The fact that it was open to the public this year speaks to that. Let’s look forward to GamesCon this summer and the Tokyo Game Show in September.