Category: Features

25 Years of Pokémon

The 27th of February this year marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Pokémon Red and Green in Japan. Could anyone back then have anticipated the impact those games would have? Initially released in 1996, the later part of the Game Boy’s lifecycle, with the release of Red and Blue* in the US in 1998, and 1999 in the EU,  the Pokémon games would go on to become the best selling Game Boy video games**, shifting over 31 million copies.

This also ensured Nintendo would continue working on the Game Boy, with the release of a slightly updated version in 1998; the Game Boy Color. Obviously, new Pokémon were released for the new handheld as well. Pokémon Gold and Silver released in 1999 and proving that Pokémon remained highly popular, these games sold over 23 million copies. Making them the best selling video games of the Game Boy Color.

With the release of every new generation of handheld by Nintendo, a new generation of Pokémon games would follow. Each highly succesful and a stepping stone for new players. New features in every generations ensured that there was also something for older players who had known the previous generations.

Further solidifying the Pokémon merchandise are the trading cards, which feature brilliant art and the game is quite fun as well. To help more people get familiar with it there was a Trading Card Game game for the GBC. Currently there’s an official app for your tablet that allows you to play the game online.

I haven’t even mentioned the animé, that started in 1997 (and is still ongoing). It drew in so many of us as we followed the adventures of Ash Ketchum, Brock and Misty. Later on other companions would join Ash on his travels, but his companion, Pikachu, would always be by his side.

In honour of this special celebration, we decided to share our memories of this beloved franchise.


My first experience with Pokémon was Red & Blue. Of course I was a fan of Pokémon before the games, already collecting the cards and watching the animé straight after school on CiTV around 3:30pm. I got Pokémon Blue on my birthday and I literally couldn’t stop playing it before going to school that day! I was determined to catch Pikachu in the Viridian Forest. With my birthday money I bought Pokémon Red and made sure I got all the Pokémon. To this day, Gen 1 Pokémon is my favourite. Charizard is my favourite Pokémon and I continue to enjoy Pokémon to this very day. Hopefully my daughter will like Pokémon, so we can go on our very own Pokémon adventure with the games!

– SuperWidzy –

I was introduced to Pokémon by my brothers, they had Red and Blue, so Mum got me Yellow for Christmas in 2000, and oh the adorableness of it! Having watched my brothers playing their versions, I was not expecting Pikachu to follow me around, I was in heaven, and it meant I got to one up my brothers for a while too, always a bonus. My favourite gen has to be 2nd. Getting to explore both the new Johto, and our beloved Kanto, in more detail, which new colours and oh my gosh, night and day cycle?! That blew my mind all over again, just a year later, 2001 Christmas Day, I got Crystal, as once again, my brothers had gotten Gold and Silver earlier in the year. Johto has always been my favourite gen, as it spanned both regions, something I’ve been willing Game Freak to do again! Whether it’s just two regions or more. I’ve fantasized many times about having every region available in a single game, I have hope, but I’ll keep fantasizing.

– Zeruda –

I’ve loved Pokemon as long as I can remember. Even before I had a console, I wanted one since all my friends had one and were playing. When I got my 3ds with Pokemon Soul Silver in 2012 I instantly fell in love. I remember spending hours getting lost in the world, exploring, finding new things and battling. It is one of those games that I could wish I could replay for the first time again. I really do love Pokemon, I’ve played every game since then and went back and played older ones, I still play Soul Silver to this day. There are so many memories I’ve had playing every single Pokemon game with friends online, and side by side with my sister, way too many to list here. Even with the controversies with modern Pokemon I am still looking forward to what the 25th Anniversary has. I know many people want Diamond and Pearl remakes this year, but personally I would like them to come out later so there is more time, love and care put into them.

– MysticEevee94 –

I remember first being introduced to the Pokémon world when I was 5. My cousin was housebound, so we used to sit and play make-believe using the Pokémon cards as inspiration, and we always had a tonne of fun. I wasn’t a gamer as a kid, and the first gaming device I really owned was the GameBoy Advance SP – I still remember that unit, with it’s nice sturdy construction and gorgeous ice-blue colour. Pokémon was one of the first games I bought, Crystal of course because the cartridge was so pretty. And so began a years-long love-hate relationship with the first game series I ever played. I loved Crystal, and generation three (I confess that I played Ruby, Sapphire, AND Emerald), but was kind of put off by the DS releases. I still bought and completed them all, always hoping that one would prove me wrong, but was unfortunately let down.

That is, until the Switch generation landed.

It may be a little controversial, but I loved Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee! It felt different and fun, and while less challenging than older games I think it was the shake-up that the series needed to help provoke interest from a new generation. Then, along came Sword and Shield. We all know that there are a lot of arguments around these two, but I thoroughly enjoyed them. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next, but not the drama that’s guaranteed to surround any anniversary announcements.

– CandidWillow –

I first got in touch with Pokémon through the animé, way back in 1998 when it first aired over here. I was hooked! Ash, Pikachu, Misty and Brock shone on my TV screen. Then I learned about the games when I was at a friend’s. Red and Blue is where it started, but Crystal is where it really got ingrained. I could not put that game down. After beating it I’d just reboot and play with another team. I tried using all the different Pokémon.

Oh! And the day and night cycle! Hunting for Dark and Ghost Pokémon like Houndour and Gastly at night! And of course breeding Pokémon at the Day Care.

The Pokémon games have obviously evolved since then, adding loads more features and Pokémon. But the exploration part is, for me, at its core. And with the recently announced Pokémon Legends: Arceus that aspect of the games is fully embraced.I can’t wait to see what’s next!

– EMH_Richard –

Allowing players to meet new Pokémon, go on new adventures and form lasting bonds, be it with Pokémon or the friends we meet along the way. The Pokémon franchise has had a profound impact on so many of us and I hope it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Happy Pokémon Day everyone!

*Late in 1996 Pokémon Blue released in Japan with improved graphics and new dialogue. This version was used for the international release of Pokémon Red and Blue.

**Yes, Tetris has a higher sales number, but it was bundled with the Game Boy, so that doesn’t really count.

The Legend of Zelda: The 35th Anniversary

As we all know, February 21st marks the 35th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, one of the longer-spanning series for Nintendo. With 19 main games and not a small amount of spin-offs under the Zelda team’s belt, including one of the first handhelds, Game & Watch (not to be confused with Zelda Game Watch), it’s no wonder there is a huge fanbase for our beloved Princess and her protector.

Here at Gaming Square, we share the love and would like to share our love with you today. Read on for where we began, what sat best with us, and what we’d like to see in the future.

CandidWillow

I was late to the Zelda world, with my first game being The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the 3DS. I absolutely fell in love with it, and it was one of the few DS games I fully completed. The nostalgia had me excited for Breath of the Wild when I got my Switch, but unfortunately, I found that the open-world title didn’t scratch the itch in quite the same way as its predecessor. The Link’s Awakening remake has managed to build my excitement for the series back up, though, in perfect time for the anniversary! I’d love to see a Switch remake of some of the older games – particularly Twilight Princess, which I love the look of but don’t have the hardware to play – for the 35th anniversary, as I’ve really missed out on a lot of lore with having not played so many of the big titles. A remake collection would be a dream come true, but I’m not sure how likely that is. I’ll be eagerly watching that space though!

Eevee94Mystic

I’ve never really played any Zelda games before, they’re just not my type of game. However, the one that did get me to try a few more was The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes on the Nintendo 3DS. The music is good, the level design is fun with unique puzzles, and it makes great use of the multiplayer. While playing single-player is a bit lonely, this game was definitely made for multiplayer and is 100 times better. I’ve always looked from a distance at the Zelda series, but looking what Nintendo did for other Anniversaries, hopefully this one will be amazing for all the fans.

SuperWidzy

My favourite Zelda game is a tough one. So many great games over the years, if I had to pick one… I’m going to have to go with Ocarina of Time. Simply because it was brilliant when it launched on the N64. Plus, with everything being canon, OoT proves to be the most important game in my honest opinion.

EMH_Richard

So, I first got into contact with The Legend of Zelda when I was 12? I never had a GameBoy growing up, so I’m a bit late. The first game I played was Link’s Awakening DX and it was amazing. I was hooked. Then the Oracle games released, and they were pure magic. To this day, Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons are my favourite games in the franchise. The depth of those two games, especially when linked, is awe-inspiring and certainly something I love replaying. With the 35th anniversary approaching I do hope we get a re-release of these amazing games, possibly in the style of Link’s Awakening for the Switch. I would cry manly tears.

Zeruda

My first contact with Zelda, I believe, is with Link’s Awakening DX. And oh, it was so good! Around the same time I would have been able to play A Link To The Past as well, I got lucky with having older gaming brothers to borrow from. The only main series games I haven’t played in their entirety are Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword and A Link Between Worlds. I would love to see more Zelda games come to the Switch, whether it’s through more old consoles like the NES and SNES apps, or being ported from elsewhere. I have reluctantly chosen one game from the main series – if I could, I’d say most of them – as most have their own place in my heart, but Majora’s Mask is my favourite; it just stands out to me from them all.

Looking Forward

Now, I’ve seen talk about how some people on the internet would like to see in the future of the series, one of the main things I’ve noticed is how many people would love to see Zelda as the main character, rather than Link. And yes, I’ve seen the comments saying this would make Link redundant, but not necessarily.

Whilst discussing this idea with ZeruDad, we came up with a potential premise for a future with Zelda as the MC. Ganon, or whichever big bad, somehow manages to go back in time and kills Link, or his parents, in every incarnation he has, so it’s up to Zelda to go back along the timeline and fix it to save the future. This would give Zelda her time to shine, going back through the multiple games we’ve witnessed throughout the last 35 years, and would give fans the chance to see old worlds again, maybe even in a new light, like Link’s Awakening?

But that’s just something I thought to share today, what ideas or hopes do you have for Zelda? Or for a different character? Is there anyone you’d like to see more of, or places you’d like to be able to go back to? Have you thought up a premise for a potential game for Zelda or Link, or maybe even Linkle?

Well, fingers crossed Zelda keeps loving it’s fans and vice versa. And here’s to many more years of Link’s adventures!

Characters through the Ages

Feature: Immortals Fenyx Rising Xbox Series X and Nintendo Switch comparison

Ubisoft released this title at the start of December a few weeks after the launch of the Xbox Series X/S and PS5. Of course Immortals is also out on PC and Nintendo Switch. By all means this isn’t a review of the game, however do a expect review of Immortals in due course.

What surprised many with the run up to Christmas was that Immortals Fenyx Rising soon went on sale for a mere £30 on all platforms. Due to store credit I saved. I decided to get Immortals on the Nintendo Switch as friends were raving about how good it is on Switch, and I guess the Breath Of The Wild comparisons.

One of the main selling points with Immortals is the cloud cross save via Ubi connect. I will show you how easy it is to save and continue playing on either platform. Below you will see the comparisons via screens and snippets of gameplay footage from the Series X. Unfortunately the software doesn’t support video footage capture on the Switch via the share button, so I will use YouTube gameplay footage and credit the user, so you can check out their channel too.

Xbox Series X

Firstly, I can tell the difference straight away in loading times. Be that entering or exiting a vault of tartaros, or simply booting up the game between the Xbox or Switch. At least on Switch you have a chance to read the hint or tips…. You can view these via the menu screen anyway if you were wondering.

Here are some screens taken from the Series X:

As you can see it looks rather lush! It’s eye candy galore.

Gameplay footage:

Nintendo Switch

Believe it or not, Immortals runs quite smoothly on the Nintendo Switch. No issues in framerate drop or performance dropping at all. Obviously in comparison to Xbox, you can tell the graphical prowess straight away and loading times which was mentioned above.

Switching between handheld and TV mode the game looks good. I would say handheld looks better than on TV with the Switch. Then again, I guess because how huge the game is. Immortals on a handheld is just so good to have on the go and we can even use Zelda: Breath Of The Wild as example how good that is on Switch too.

Here are some screens grabbed from the Nintendo Switch:

Gameplay footage handheld mode by Youtube channel anazeus.

Gameplay footage by Youtube channel Nintendo Life.

Cross save functionality

Cross save is rather simple. As with most Ubisoft games you will more than likely already have Ubi account, which is all you need for the cross save to work. Tip, make sure to update your password if you may have already forgotten it! Because it will make your life easier when booting up the game on a different platform.

So here we go. First of all you want to select “Online Save”. Once you selected that, you will come to another screen saying either send online or load from online.

As you can see below is the send online or load from online screen.

By selecting “Send Online”, all your save data be that manual save or auto will be available to you on which save file you would like to send over to the cloud via Ubi connect. These pics were taken from the Xbox Series X.

Here is the load from online screen on the file I sent over where I left off on the Xbox and continued playing on the Nintendo Switch.

It’s a rather simple process. No stress or haggle. Just pick up and play where you left off and hopefully more titles in the Ubi catalogue will get the same treatment.

There you have it. A bitesized comparison from the Series X and Nintendo Switch. Again, this isn’t a review like previously stated. The whole purpose of this feature was to show you the difference between both consoles, how it plays and helping you which platform to play it on or both!

I hope it helps and you enjoyed viewing this. We will have a review of Immortals Fenyx Rising in due course, so stay tuned for a more in depth opinion.

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Games we are looking forward to this year!

We have arrived into 2021 (thank god) and what an extordinary year 2020 was. A new year means new games! Check out below from the staff which games they are looking forward too this year!

Candid Willow

Rune Factory 5

Rune Factory 5! I’ve been a huge fan of the Rune Factory games for years, and thoroughly enjoyed Rune Factory 4 Special. The trailers for RF5 have been brief and delightfully spoiler-free, but had plenty of juicy details to whet the appetite. If there’s a special edition announced for the West, I’m going to be stalking that preorder date!

Eevee

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

We don’t know much about games next year. Though I am very excited for Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury. I already loved 3D World, it was a fun platformer, especially with friends and family. With them adding online mode, that already sold me, plus with the addition of Bowser’s Fury, which we don’t know anything about, I’ll be willing to buy the game though I already own it on Wii U. 3D World is a fun co-op game, but also can get competitive, which I’m excited to play with my friends all over the world.

Super Widzy

Halo Infinite

For those who know me personally, know that I love Halo. I can still remember the first time I played Halo on Christmas day, original Xbox and Halo Combat Evolved being unwrapped. Since then, FPS games changed for me. Going on the journey with the Master Chief and Cortana to save Humanity from the Covenant, yet unearthing a universe secret which threatens all lifeforms. Halo Infinite cannot come soon enough! I’m looking forward to be taking on the Banished and whatever else is thrown our way!

EMH_Richard

The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2

The game I’m most looking forward to is Breath of the Wild 2, which I expect will release on 2021 to coincide with the 35th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda. I want to roam around Hyrule again, battling and exploring!

Zeruda

Rune Factory 5

Never thought we’d actually see this title with the gap between releases being almost a decade. So seeing the trailer really blew my mind.
Really enjoyed played RF4 special, so I have high hopes for RF5. Only 5 months to go!!

ClaireBear194

Horizon: Forbidden West

The game I’m most looking forward to in 2021 is Horizon: Forbidden West. Horizon: Zero Dawn was innovative, ambitious and a joy to lose myself in. I never thought we’d get a sequel, but I’m looking forward to experiencing Aloy’s newest adventure with her and seeing all the new machines.

And there you have it! Our picks on which games we are most looking forward too. Share with us below on what games you are most looking forward to this year!