Reflections on 2017 – What an amazing year for gaming!

What an amazing year for gaming 2017 has been! There have been so many fantastic games released, across multiple platforms and genres. Early this year, when I began writing about the games The Boy and I were playing, I had no idea what a good time it was to start this blog! We’ve also been lucky with the retro games we’ve played, whether they were just catch up from 2016 or older games we’d never previously got around to. I have added more games to my All-Time Top Games List this year than any year before – 10 games have been good enough to get 5 stars here.lozbotw1

So here’s a roundup of the year, in reviews and awards. Please note that if your favourite game isn’t mentioned, just remember that I have probably just not caught up with it yet (Super Mario Odyssey, I’m looking at you). I’ll do a backlog catchup post later in the week to round up those.

2017 Reviews (by score and then chronologically)
Forza Horizon 3
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Old Man’s Journey
Horizon Zero Dawn
Super Mario Galaxy
Madden NFL 18
Gears of War 4
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

New Super Mario Bros 2
Puyo Puyo Tetris
Dirt 4
Fast RMX
Sonic Mania
FIFA 18 (Switch)

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
Super Bomberman R
NBA Playgrounds
Gone Home
Gran Turismo Sport

Magikarp Jump

2017 Awards:
Best Game: Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wildlozbotw2
It was my desire to write about how good Breath of the Wild was that originally sparked the idea to start some kind of blog. This game is just endlessly entertaining, I genuinely never wanted it to stop.
Runner Up: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
There have been many great Mario Kart games over the years but with 8 Deluxe, Nintendo have perfected the formula. And for local multiplayer, there’s no better thing.

Best Platform: Nintendo Switch
switchIt’s not hard to see why the Switch wins out here given the best game awards above! But in its first year it’s fair to give the console some bonus points for the genius of its design and the ability to play anywhere anyhow, as well.
Runner Up: Xbox One.
This was a close run thing as both Xbox One and PS4 had 2 great exclusives in 2017. The PS4 loses out because it also had the biggest disappointment of the year (see below).

Best Multiplayer Game: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe2017050713184900-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5
As mentioned above, there is nothing even close to this for local multiplayer – in years, in fact, not just this year. It is absolute fun and the great combination of punch-the-air wins and heartbreaking losses only gets better with friends.
Runner Up: NBA Playgrounds
With Mario Kart dominating local multiplayer this year I turn to online multiplayer for the runner up. When I found a likeminded opponent who also wanted to play spectacularly – rather than just win – these games were exciting and ridiculous.

Most Unexpectedly Great Game: Madden NFL 1807-10-2017_22-39-27
I fully expected this to be just another annual edition of Madden until I played the new Longshot story mode. It was absolutely brilliant and elevated a good game to great.
Runner Up: Minecraft
I’d been avoiding Minecraft for ages – wasn’t sure if would be ‘my kind of game’. I was wrong. It’s fantastic and I spent untold amounts of hours being creative in it.

Wooden Spoon – Worst Disappointment: Gran Turismo SportGran Turismo™SPORT_20171020214155
Never before has a game given me something so good – in this case, the car handling model – and then given me no reason at all to enjoy it. Very disappointing.
Runner Up: Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
After I really loved the first Mirror’s Edge I was looking forward to this. Sadly, whilst it maintained the enjoyable free running, it lost its heart and its storytelling.


Top 5 game mashups wishlist

Ahead of the imminent release of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle I’ve been wondering what other game mash-ups would be fun! The way most franchises are held onto tightly by their developers these kind of cross-over games are fewer and further between these days.

Click here to pre-order Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle from

Anyway, without further ado, here is my wishlist of game mashups:
#1: Uncharted + Tomb Raiderphotostudio_1502726158087
An easy one to start with. Imagine Lara climbing slowly but surely up to the entrance to a tomb, smashing through the entrance and… finding Nate there already holding the treasure! This would be more of a character mashup as the games are ultimately very similar but I’d be intrigued to see some interaction between them. Presumably it wouldn’t take Lara long to get fed up with Nate’s wisecracks!
#2: SSX + Gears of Warphotostudio_1502836294220
You know you want to see Marcus Fenix on a snowboard! More over, snowboarding down a mountain with gun it hand mowing down bad guys James-Bond-style would be fantastic. Only question would be whether to keep the Uber TricksGears move too slowly to be spinning and pirouetting in mid air I think.
#3: NBA Playgrounds + Super Smash Brosphotostudio_1502811927255
Mario and his friends have gotten themselves involved in lots of sports over the years – tennis, golf, football. But there’s something inherently spectacular about larger than life basketball games like NBA Jam, NBA Street and recently NBA Playgrounds that would surely combine well with Nintendo’s cast of characters. I’ve love to see Princess Peach go up for a huge slam dunk only to get spectacularly blocked by Link – it would be like Smash Bros on the court.
#4: Halo + Mirror’s Edgephotostudio_1502803790661
For everything that was good about Mirror’s Edge the combat was quite poor, particularly the weapons. But what if you put all the parkour aspects – the leaps, the rolls, the slides and put them at the disposal of the Master Chief?! Sliding down a zip wire charging up a plasma pistol. Running through hails of gunfire up and over buildings and making it to safety just before your shield finally goes. This would be a spectacular game.
#5: Hot Wheels Race Off + Game Vehiclesphotostudio_1502836529885
This one is here partly for The Boy, who still plays Hot Wheels Race Off from time to time. One of the things he enjoys is when he has a car in the game that he also has the toy in real life. Well, what if we were talking vehicles from other games like there are a couple in Rocket League? The Junker from Gears of War, the Mako from Mass Effect, the Interceptor II from SpyHunter. That would be a great mashup to race them against each other. Actually, one of these vehicles has already been taken to the next level – The UNSC Warthog is already an actual Hot Wheels toy:
What about you? What’s your dream game mashup? Let us know in the comments below.

E3 Round Up

So the three current console manufacturers, alongside a number of publishers, have had their E3 showcases for 2017. A lot of drama and arguments have been had online about it all so I’m going to keep my summary positive and mention the top 3 games for each console that I am now looking forward to after the expo. At the end of the day – there is plenty of great gaming to be done here, there’s no need to argue about it!

Emblema del Electronic Entertainment Expo.png

Xboxone logo.PNG

Forza Motorsport 7
– it’s Forza. Thus it will be amazing!
Super Lucky’s Tale
– I love the idea of having a fun and light hearted game to play with The Boy on Xbox.
Crackdown 3
– the first one was superb, the second only ok. Hopefully this can get back to it’s original heights.

Nintendo Switch Logo.svg

Super Mario Odyssey
– it’s Super Mario. Thus it will be amazing!
– totally loving the look of the art style of this one. Betting it plays great too.
Mario+Rabbids Kingdom Battle
– this game was rumoured and I was unconvinced, but by the look of the showcase it will be awesome!

PS4 logo.png

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
– it’s Uncharted. Thus it will be amazing!
Detroit Become Human
– this kind of reminds me of Quantum Break in some ways. I always like a bit of Sci-Fi.
– of all the various superheroes, Spiderman ought to be the one who translates best to a video game. Let’s see if this one finally nails it!

What about you? Which games are you looking forward to most after the E3 showcases? Let us know in the comments below!

Hot Wheels Race Off

The Boy has really discovered playing games on his iPad in the last 12 months or so. Where before any time he spent on it was passive time watching cartoons he now splits his iPad time evenly between playing games and watching videos – mostly of other people playing those games so that he can pick up tips!

One of his other main past times is playing with Hot Wheels cars and tracks so imagine how perfect it was for him early this year when this game arrived:



Hot Wheels Race Off is available on iOS and Android. The controls are simply accelerate and brake so it’s easy for a child to initially pick up.



However, that’s where the simplicity ends. It’s turned out to be a reasonably deep and difficult game requiring skill and also a great memory to remember what any particular race course has for you next. In addition all the cars in the game are also available as actual toys so The Boy can match up the in-game vehicles with his real-life ones.


There’s a first time for everything

When he first started playing it The Boy would often ask for my help with different levels but as he has now completed every track (and has set his sights on the fastest time on each) I can no longer help.


This is the first game in his life that he has been very literally and demonstrably better at that me. I guess it’s all downhill for me from here! Soon I’ll be asking him for tips on the latest Mario or Halo games.