There Has Never Been a Better Time to Play Metroid II

There Has Never Been a Better Time to Play Metroid II

Metroid II: Return of Samus is a Gameboy classic that deserves your time
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After Nintendo’s surprise announcement of not one but two new “Metroid” titles at this year’s E3, fans of the company and the series itself are abuzz. Years of perceived neglect towards everyone’s favorite parasite-fighting bounty hunter seem to have been lifted during Nintendo’s main Spotlight segment of their conference. They revealed that work is underway on “Metroid Prime 4” for their console/handheld hybrid the Switch. Though right now there is not much to go on aside from a simple logo and a small, atmospheric musical cue, this has been enough to get people riled for the classic series again.

What is perhaps even more surprising, however, is the announcement that came after the Spotlight segment. A classic, Metroidvania sidescroller is not only in the works but fairly far along into development on the Nintendo 3DS. So far along, in fact, that Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé brought the game out to be demoed at the show for all to see. It was revealed during this demo that the game, titled “Metroid: Samus Returns”, is a reimagination, a complete overhaul, of the 1991 Game Boy game “Metroid II: Return of Samus”.

With brand new 2.5D graphics and a shot of adrenaline to really quicken the game’s pace, this looks almost nothing like the chunky black and white (or honestly puke green) of the original Nintendo Game Boy. Due to be released in September “Samus Returns” looks to be an atmospheric action-adventure game that brings a handheld classic up to the modern industry’s standards.

A fan project once attempted this with the unofficial game “Another Metroid 2 Remake”, attempting to recreate “Metroid II” as a smoother, more attractive experience on the PC. They took the pixel-art styling of “Metroid 4: Fusion” and “Metroid: Zero Mission” and emulated the Game Boy Advance’s more sophisticated sprite work. This effort has, unfortunately, received the ire of Nintendo’s ever hostile legal team, a copyright hit squad that pounces on fan projects whenever they grow conspicuous enough.

With “Metroid: Samus Returns” appearing to be just around the corner there seemingly has not been a better time to go back and revisit, or maybe experience for the first time, “Metroid II: Return of Samus”. Seeing as “Samus Returns” is more a reimagining than a direct remaster or remake playing through the original game, and comparing and contrasting the games upon the release of “Samus Returns”, is a worthwhile experience. The technological limitations of the past versus the free-for-all jamboree of the modern gaming industry.

Playing “Metroid II: Return of Samus” has also grown increasingly easy in recent years. Outside of going out to find a (probably expensive) classic Game Boy cartridge “Metroid II” is now available on the Nintendo 3DS’s eShop. The digital copy of the game has been cleaned up and includes virtual console amenities such as save states and the ability to swap between screen colors, but the essentials of the game have been kept entirely intact. On a brighter, higher resolution screen in 2017 “Metroid II” has never looked better, and the 3DS is far more comfortable to hold for extended periods than the Game Boy ever was. To sweeten the deal even further the eShop copy is only $3.99 and takes up a measly 37 blocks of system storage space on the 3DS.

“Metroid II” certainly shows its age at times and the pacing is a far cry from the zippy combat and finishing moves of its upcoming remake, but to hold the years too harshly against the game is to ignore the eerie atmosphere, creative structure, and sheer fun of this Nintendo classic.

Cover Image Credit: nintendojo

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Cell Phones And Our Communication

How Our Obsession With These Devices Has Changed Society
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There are almost as many cell phone subscriptions (6.8 billion) as there are people in the world, which is 7 billion. Everyone in our society has experienced the impacts of cell phones and the evolution of them. The evolution of the cell phone, the apps we have on our phones, and how social media impacts mental health and everyday lives all go into how cell phones have forever changed our communication with the world.

Cell phones did not always look like the phones we have today, they have changed drastically throughout the years. The first mobile phone was a Motorola DynaTAC 8000x, released on April 3, 1973. This weighed about 2 pounds, took 10 hours to recharge, and held 30 numbers. It cost $4,000.

Then came the first pocket-sized cell phone, a Nokia 6110, released in December of 1997. This was actually the first phone to have features such as games, calculators, currency converters, and calendars and marketed to the general population. And of course, came the first modern smartphone on June 29, 2007; the iPhone by Apple.

This was the stepping stone into the world of cell phone technology we have today. Today, 77% of Americans own a smartphone, while 92% of 18-29-year-olds own one. Actually, more people have a cell phone than they do a toilet. Shocking right? Modern smartphones have allowed humans to communicate with anyone in the world instantly.

150 years ago it would take the Pony Express 10 days to deliver a letter from Missouri to California. Now, that would take just seconds to send a text message. Texting today has divided people into two groups: iMessage and SMS. Those without iMessage capable devices are sometimes excluded from group chats.

Not only are we able to communicate through text message, but also applications. In May 2017 there were 2,200,000 apps in the app store. Apps have made us all feel the need to constantly broadcast our lives and have a desire for instant gratification, receiving likes or favorites on what we post. We've become obsessed.

Although, many apps do actually have a functional purpose other than social or entertainment including, fitness, transportation, weather, personal finance, entertainment, etc. Apps like these, and most others, make things more efficient and time-saving for us.

Phones have enabled us to communicate with people from all the way across the world. Communication has improved from taking months for a message to travel across the country in seconds to send across the world. With the mobility of cell phones evolving each day we are able to put them away in our pocket and pull them out as needed.

Texting has also definitely changed our communication skills with face to face people. There are many people today that are uncomfortable having face-to-face conversations with others. Granted, certain things are a lot easier to say over a text rather than saying it in person. People feel that since there is a screen separating them and the person on the other side they are able to say things that they wouldn't normally say. Texting has also changed our grammar ie. “text talk” (LOL, IDK, HMU, U, WUT, SMH). Some of these phrases have even been added to the dictionary.

As you can all see cell phones have come from a 2-pound brick to a light as a feather glass device that has created improvements for our lives but also brought negative things to light. I explained just how the physical cell phone has evolved, how it brought apps to our lives and the impacts they have on us, how cell has made texting mainstream communication instead of face to face conversation, as well as the social awkwardness that they have created for our generation.

I hope with this information, you have a better understanding how cell phones have impacted our lives.

Cover Image Credit: Faye Flam

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Far Cry 5 Impressions

My thoughts on the latest installment in the franchise
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When Far Cry 5 was first announced back in 2017, it caused controversy among gamers and non-gamers alike based on it's setting and antagonists. Some went so far as to say it was a "white genocide simulator" and some native Montanans threatened to hold an armed march, based on the cover art alone. I didn't buy a copy when it released last month, but not for those reasons. The Far Cry series has always delved into controversial issues, so this newest installment doesn't phase me. I was beginning to think that the Far Cry franchise had gone stale, and the subsequently released gameplay videos didn't convince me otherwise. Far Cry 5 looked to be more of the same. My brother rented the game from Redbox last week and he let me try it out when he was finished. After playing through the first few hours, I realized that I was...somewhat right.

For those unaware Far Cry 5 takes place in the fictional Hope County, located in the state of Montana. A fundamentalist doomsday cult, led by pastor Joseph Seed, has risen to power and has influence over the majority of the residents. After several kidnappings and forced baptisms, among other atrocities, the police department is called in to arrest Seed. Things go south and the playable character, simply named "the deputy", is stranded in the isolated Hope County. The new goal is to topple Seed's hierarchy by rescuing and aiding the townsfolk, destroying propaganda, and generally causing as much chaos as possible.

I haven't played through the story( which takes up to 25+ hours to complete) so I can't give my full analysis of the game. I did, however, find some enjoyment in the time I played. First off, the visuals are breathtaking and the music is eerily calming. I could pause the game and listen to the soundtrack when I study if I wanted to! The player can also customize the deputy to their liking; one can choose their gender, race, and clothing before venturing out into the wilderness. Weapons can be customized as well.

Still, I couldn't help but notice some issues. Despite the contemporary American setting, the world feels barren. Plus my suspension of disbelief was broken a few times; if Seed is such a threat, why haven't the feds stepped in? The deputy is a silent protagonist; When other NPCs (non-playable characters) talk to you, it doesn't feel authentic. Rather than having a decent conversation, it sounds as if they're spouting exposition to you. Regarding the gameplay, it hasn't changed much since Far Cry 3 ( released in 2012). You go to an NPC for an assignment, raid and kill a settlement full of bad guys, potentially save some hostages, and save the day! Rinse and repeat... The campaign is an assortment of fetch quests, essentially. Past games in the series have done this, too. I didn't mind then, probably didn't realize it either, but I'm aware of that now and I've graudally grown tired of it. My brother had to return the game, so I didn't play as much of it as would've liked to. Maybe the gameplay improves as one progresses through the story, but from my experience it leaves much to be desired.

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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