The Blue Blur Regains His Stride

The Blue Blur Regains His Stride

Sonic Mania brings the titular Sega hero back to where he belongs.

I was not a “Sonic the Hedgehog” fan as a kid. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the speedy platformer, it was just something I never got many chances to play. I grew up on Nintendo’s platforms, playing “Mario” and “Metroid” and the like until I couldn’t stand looking at a screen any longer. Sega was a company whose games I only really got to play a good while after the death of their hardware business. There was a Sega Genesis for the older kids in the back of the Tae Kwon Do place I went to when I was younger, and there I got to see “Sonic” in action a few times. Eventually, I played a handful of titles in the series such as “Sonic Advance” on the GameBoy Advance and though I enjoyed them well enough, they didn’t leave much of a mark.

Unfortunately, the most experience I have with “Sonic” comes in the form of hilariously bad, broken 3D console outings such as “Shadow the Hedgehog” and the infamously painful “Sonic ’06.” My friends and I have a several summers strong tradition of finding the worst of the 3D “Sonic” games and playing through them to completion, for a few laughs and nearly broken controllers. So, approaching the newly released “Sonic Mania,” this was my background with the series. No nostalgia glasses here.

Despite a lack of experience with the proper, “good” games in the series, and despite my extensive (painfully so, I must add) time with the “crap” ones, I absolutely adore “Sonic Mania.” No nostalgia required.

It exudes a colorful charm that has been absent from the series in past entries, immediately leaping off the screen with gorgeous spritework and expert animation. This is a game put together by fans with the blessing of Sonic Team and Sega, and it clearly shows. There is a loving craftsmanship on display that presents the classic gameplay of the 1990s “Sonic” outings, with new level of polish that avoids feeling antiquated in the modern gaming climate.

Sonic and friends move in such a way that feels fantastic to control no matter what speed you’re going, and exploring the huge, gorgeously designed stages is an absolute blast from start to finish. It’s tight both in presentation and gameplay, a functionality both technically impressive and joyous in its motions.

Though this is a game that revisits the classic style of the series it does not shy away from creativity. There are so many examples of thoughtful designs whether it be in a boss fight such as one where the fight is literally a round of the puzzle game “Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine” (basically the Japanese puzzler “Puyo Puyo” reskinned with “Sonic” themes), or the many different methods of stage traversal like, one of my personal favorites, the television broadcast beams in the Studiopolis Zone.

For only about $20.00 gamers are treated to what is essentially a sequel to the classic, original “Sonic” series of old. A game that is rife with features meant to please old-school fans while still courting newcomers. I’ve been playing it nonstop these past few days while sick and off of work, and you can bet I’ll be playing it even more after this. Sega’s “Blue Blur” is back.

Cover Image Credit: pressakey.com - Flickr

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10 Must Have Tools for Web Developers

We will be listing below 10 such tools which are a must for web developers.

Developers are the ones who create the buildings (websites) in the digital world. Without them it would have been possible to ease up things. They are the ones who work nights after nights, writing millions of lines of codes so that the websites function properly. 

Advancement in this digital era would not have been possible without them. But as technology is advancing day by day needs and demands are increasing. 

From simple layouts to visual and animated ones. They cannot afford to waste time which will decrease their productivity. This calls for some tools which will ease up their work a lot leading to more efficient and better performing websites.

Read More: Checkout the brief comparison of best web hosting companies here.

We will be listing below 10 such tools which are a must for web developers.

· VisualStudio Code

A code editor is one of the must use tool for a web developer. This is an open source code editor tool from windows. Features like auto debugging and GitHub upload makes coding a lot easier and also saves a lot of time. 

· Firebug

This is a product from the house of Mozilla Firefox. This works an extension to the Firefox browser. Its main objective is to debug and edit HTML, JavaScript, CSS etc codes. This helps the developers by giving a unified platform in the browser to code, debug and also execute it at the same time. 

· Cloud 9 IDE

Sometimes it happens that developers work on a big project where a team of developers are present. All of them have different individual tasks to be done. But each of them need to keep themselves aware of others work too. This is to avoid any problems related to code compatibility while merging different parts is being done. Cloud 9 IDE is a platform that facilitates working together and discussing in real time.

· Foundation

This is a tool which creates working prototypes of created design in order to check the responsiveness of the page.

· Adobe Colour CC

This tool is solely for the purpose of web designing. This helps designers in creating different colour combinations to be used in different web pages.

· Pingdom

User experience is one of the most vital aspects in web development. This very tool simulates the website performance by hosting it through a server to check the load time of different elements of the site. Pingdom allows developers to correct errors before actually hosting the site.

· Webflow

Sometimes dedicated designers are not available for designing the front end and the developers have to do it. Webflow is such a tool which makes web designing very easy. Here no actual coding is involved. Simple drag and drop actions to design pages according to requirements.

· Affinity

This is a very advanced tool for graphic designing. If a developer is looking to put in some mind-blowing graphics into the design then this is the tool that they need.

· Google Fonts

This free tool from Google gives developers the flexibility to use a large variety of fonts in the pages. These fonts can be used by just writing a single line of code.

· Typetester

this is a tool that allows the developers to see a preview of the font styles that have been used. This reduces the work of executing the whole code to get a preview.

These tools are mainly intended at making things easy for the developers. It is totally dependent upon an individual whether they use it or not. But these are some recommended ones which are really helpful.

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Nintendo's Consoles Ranked Worst To Best

Spanning 30 plus years, Nintendo has released some amazing and even some embarrassingly bad video game consoles.

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, I was introduced to my first Nintendo video game console. Okay, the year was 1987 and it was Kentucky, the home of my sister and her husband. Not that it matters. What matters is the love affair between the subdued gray box of plastic and myself, an affair that is now three decades long.

From an arguably overweight plumber to a Hyrulian hero of legend to a spacing-faring bounty hunter named Samus Aran, I was smitten with all the adventures the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) had to offer.

Although I'm far from old, I am grown, and I don't have the same time to devote to gaming like I once did. Complicating matters is multiple consoles upon which I play games. There's also a slew of homework as I finish my undergrad and a handful of responsibilities that prevent me from settling in and playing to my eyes and yadda, yadda, yadda.

Despite owning a number of consoles outside of the Nintendo brand, I'm a Nintendo through-and-through. Thankfully, Nintendo has put out quite a few consoles in my time, and it's below that I'll present a ranking of Nintendo consoles from worst to best.

12. Virtual Boy

Admittedly, I never bought the Virtual Boy. Every time I tried to play on it at Best Buy or Target, I ended up getting a headache, potentially the result of its poor attempt at serving up a 3D video game experience. Also hurting it was that every game was red in tone and the inconvenient, bulky design the console's intended portability.

11. Wii U

While the concept was intriguing, I never really saw the Wii U's potential realized. As a consequence, I never really cared for it and it's ungodly expensive Gamepad controller. On that note, quite a few of the friends I know preferred to use a controller other than the Gamepad, so...

10. Gameboy

Ranking this so low almost hurts, as it is the granddaddy of portable Nintendo gaming, but the games do not stand the test of time. The damn thing required too frequent battery changes, a screen that was too tiny, and a constant source of light, an inconvenience that ruined this on car rides at night. If memory serves, there was a backlit Gameboy released, but it was far too late, in my opinion.

9. 3DS

While I have to extremely boss games on the 3DS, they're remakes of old-school games from the PlayStation 2 and the original Gameboy. Were it not for those two games, I'd not have wasted my money on what never really delivered on the 3D side of things nor really showed us anything that an earlier handheld didn't already show us.

8. Wii

Now, this is an odd entry, and I sometimes will rank it higher than I am now. However, despite some of the stellar games released on the Wii, this machine was more gimmick than a mainstay. Yeah, "Smash Bros," "Mario Kart," and "Metroid Prime 3" were all amazing, but I don't want to be so physically active while playing a game. Also, were it not for the Virtual Console, this would rank even lower.

7. DS

I only bought this to help pass the hours while wasting away entire days during my enlistment. However, this is far from a throwaway Nintendo experience. The two screens made for a unique way to play games, and its library of games was solid, too. Of course, most games I played were mostly retro game remasters and remakes.

6. Gamecube

This lil' box of a console was deemed to cutesy and too childish for more hardcore gamers, but it had some hard-hitting games that stand the test of time. "Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker" was, far superior to "Ocarina of Time," an assertion sure to get me killed. "Metroid Prime" as both fun and an amazing sight to behold. There are countless more games, but I'll say no more.

Don't agree with my ranking? Fight me.

5. Gameboy Advance

The Gameboy Advance was everything the original Gameboy should have been, were it not for those pesky lil' technical limitations. The advance had quite a decent library and provided a better gaming experience than its predecessor. Did I mention it was backlit? No? It was backlit. Now I've said it.

4. NES

Simple in design and its library of games is out of this world. Chances are, if there's a remake of an old NES game, I have that remake. Now, I would hook up and play the actual console, but, if you've ever owned one, you know that the console itself was cantankerous.

3. Switch

"Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" is reason enough for this console's inclusion in my top three. However, it's blend of portability elevates this console to lofty heights. "Mario: Odyssey" is on point, and being able to lie in bed AND play "Skyrim" makes a strong case. Of course, additional points were given for potential of the console.

2. N64

By virtue of its cartridge versus compact disc format, the N64 should have failed in the face of competition with the PlayStation. Anyone who has played "Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time" or "Super Mario 64," among other games, know full well why this console is still considered one of the best of its era.

1. SNES

Not only is the most significant console of my formative teen years, it has the beefiest library of games of any other console on this list, save the original NES. "Chrono Trigger" is possibly one of the greatest RPG experiences of all time. "Super Metroid" improved upon the original in some many ways it's sick. "Mega Man X?" Still one of the loveliest Mega Man games ever.

I really could on forever in this console's case. It had it all. RPGs by the truckload. Adventure games in the hundreds. Sports games aplenty. It had a little bit for everyone. Truth be told, I don't think a console has been quite as pleasing as the SNES was, and still is, although the Switch has potential. Maybe...

Some consoles or portables were omittied because they either did not release in North America or they were simply an earlier model with the most minor of changes.

Anyway, what do you think? Would you agree with my ranking? Any choices surprise or enrage you? Drop me a message and let me know.

Cover Image Credit: Umich

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