Graham Russell

B2OF_VITA

The Best to Own Forever series isn’t about what’s great right now. It’s about what will be great in 10 years, even though there will be better-looking games and later sequels, and what will keep you pulling that dusty old console out of the closet every once in a while. In this installment, we check out the best that the Vita has to offer (so far).

Persona 4 Golden

If you’ve played Persona 4, you know it’s easily one of the best PS2 games around, and introduced a whole slew of people to the wonderful world of this bizarre series. Golden doesn’t do a lot to change things up from the original, but it’s a fantastic enhanced version of an RPG many consider a classic. The added content and portability of P4G makes it a must-have for anyone who considers themselves a fan of RPGs, and one that will hold up for many years to comes. - Andrew Passafiume
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B2PN_GCN

Everyone does Top 10 Games lists. The problem with those? Usually, they’re full of games that earn a place because of nostalgia or industry significance. Here at Snackbar Games, we like being a little more practical: if you’re looking to just have fun, what games should you pick up and play today? This time, we grab the indigo box by the handle and take a look at the GameCube.

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

The original Paper Mario came out very late in the N64’s life cycle, and as a result, many missed out on this still-beautiful gem of a game. With Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Intelligent Systems strove to improve the formula for a new generation of hardware and completely succeeded. This 2004 sequel has Mario journeying through the land of Rogueport while trying to rescue Princess Peach (again), meeting quirky new friends like Goombella and Professor Frankly and collecting crystal stars to open the titular Thousand-Year Door. The 2D sprites against the 3D background look fantastic, the buddies are a treat and the scenarios (particularly the coliseum section) worked well to set the pace. It’s a joy to play, and a respectable continuation of the Mario RPG series. - Henry Skey
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multitapgenesis

The Sega Genesis, which just celebrated the 25th anniversary of its American release, was notoriously a bit of a mess in the multiplayer department. Instead of a unified first-party effort, there were three competing schemes for allowing up to four players at once, and compatibility is… well, it’s a headache. But there are ways to get around that, and there are games worth that effort! READ MORE

talesofxillia2c

Building a direct JRPG sequel creates a special opportunity. A developer can build on the hours of work of the previous game, both in asset creation and player buy-in, and the characters and locations can be fleshed out and given an ever-more-memorable presence in the minds of the fans and the zeitgeist of the genre. The focus can be on fixing flaws while retaining what went right, and the result can be a game that one-ups its accomplished predecessor.

But as enticing as this opportunity can be, it’s rarely seized in the genre, because it also presents a profound challenge. READ MORE

The Sega Genesis is 25! We celebrate the anniversary of the system’s American release by checking out some of its best titles (as well as a few off-the-beaten-path selections). While Graham struggles with classics like Dynamite Headdy, Aladdin, Columns III, NBA Jam T.E. and World of Illusion, Lucas joins Andrew to talk about Gamescom news, Akiba’s Trip, Hohokum, RetroN 5 and more.

To watch the show and chat with us live, check out this page every other Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern and follow us on Twitter for special streams.

B2PN_PS2

Everyone does Top 10 Games lists. The problem with those? Usually, they’re full of games that earn a place because of nostalgia or industry significance. Here at Snackbar Games, we like being a little more practical: if you’re looking to just have fun, what games should you pick up and play today? This time, we return to the system that dominated the early-2000s: the PlayStation 2.

Final Fantasy XII

Despite the juggernaut brand name, Final Fantasy XII was more of a risk than many think. It had been five years since Final Fantasy X and, since then, Square Enix had released X-2 and Final Fantasy XI, both to mixed reception. It also made a rare design choice; setting the game in Ivalice, a world the franchise had used before. All turned out to be well, for the most part. The graphics and environments are grand, the music is pleasant (if unmemorable) and the amount of side content certainly takes influence from Final Fantasy XI’s MMO style of gameplay. The game has aged quite well, retains a ton of replay value and spawned a (less memorable) sequel for the DS, Revenant Wings.  - Henry Skey
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B2PN_XBX

Everyone does Top 10 Games lists. The problem with those? Usually, they’re full of games that earn a place because of nostalgia or industry significance. Here at Snackbar Games, we like being a little more practical: if you’re looking to just have fun, what games should you pick up and play today? This time, we profile Microsoft’s first console effort: the Xbox.

Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge

While many consider Namco’s Ace Combat series to be the king of the flight combat games around this time, the Xbox version of Crimson Skies is a force to be reckoned with. Ported over from the PC and simplified with console controls in mind, this “dumbing down” of the arcade-style flight game actually made it more fun as a result, creating one of the most fast-paced flight games on a system without many other options. - Andrew Passafiume
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metrico1

The world of data visualization is in many ways a novel one for games. I mean, to a certain extent, all games are is data visualization, but it’s never really drawn inspiration from these infographics precepts in a significant way. Metrico developer Digital Dreams saw that hole in its own data and sought to fill it with a game that is both visually arresting and mentally demanding.
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gaijinguide_europe

The longer I write this column, the more often I hear one specific bit of feedback: “Graham, this stuff sounds cool and all, but I like actually knowing what’s going on when I play games.” Fair enough! The language barrier can be overcome, but it’s never without sacrificing some degree of comfort and comprehension. But I can help you too, dear skeptical reader. We’re just going to have to turn our gaze across the other ocean. READ MORE

For this edition of Snack Time, we take the occasion of Rogue Legacy’s PSN release to check it out on the show! Also: Henry talks about his trip to The International, we mull the merits of a stealthy pirate, Andrew is totally wrong about how awesome the Game Boy Micro is and we talk about games we love on the handheld celebrating its 25th birthday: the original Game Boy.

To watch the show and chat with us live, check out this page every other Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern and follow us on Twitter for special streams.