Animal Crossing: New Horizons Themed Switch Finally Announced

A #NintendoSwitch system inspired by #AnimalCrossing: New Horizons is on the way! With unique Joy-Con controllers, a custom design on the back, and a special Nintendo Switch dock, it’s the perfect way to start your island life. Available 3/13 for $299.99.

Nintendo of America on Twitter on January 30, 2020

Once the next Animal Crossing game was announced for the Switch, I knew I would have to buy a second Switch for the house. I just knew Abby would take over my Switch to tend to her village (now we know its an island this time). I want to look after my own little island too!

We saved up enough for the new console for when the game comes out in March, but we were not sure if Nintendo would do a specially themed console and whether or not it would be the full-sized Switch or the Switch Lite.

Our questions have been answered by Nintendo of America at 7:08 PM EST on a Thursday night. A full-sized Switch is incoming a week before the game’s launch. It features mint-colored Joy-cons and a beachy Dock. I have never been more jealous of my wife. Pre-order locked in; love you Abby.

Phil Spencer Visits The Initiative

Great update today with @DGallagher_LA @mattbooty and the team @TheInitiative. Incredibly talented studio challenging themselves to do new things things (and old things :-) ) in new ways.

Phil Spencer tweet on January 28, 2020

Nice to hear Phil traveling to the Xbox Game Studios during the launch year of the Xbox Series X. Also nice to hear that one stop was specifically at The Initiative since I predicted their game would be revealed this year.

Shuhei Yoshida and a Decade of Dreams

Shuhei Yoshida: A Decade of Dreams? – PS I Love You XOXO Ep. 4 — PS I Love You XOXO — Overcast

I think Greg and Blessing flirt right on the edge of my idea that Dreams could become an engine that PlayStation distributes, like I wrote about this week. The article they mentioned from Stephen Tailby at PushSquare quotes Shuhei Yoshida from the recent Impy Awards celebrating Dreams creations. You can see Shuhei’s statement on Twitch. I think the quote below lends itself the most to my theory and makes it feel like a slam dunk. 

I cannot wait to see how this platform develops, and how this tool will enable the future creators of video games that everybody will enjoy.

Maybe I am just hearing what I want to hear, but there is definitely more to Dreams and its Bubblebath engine than meets the eye.

Is PlayStation Entering the Video Game Engine Business?

I have had a thought for the past two weeks. It was sparked by Jason Schreier of Kotaku reporting that Horizon: Zero Dawn could be ported to PC, unheard of for a first-party PlayStation exclusive. Then the flames were fanned by Blessing Adyeoye Jr. of Kinda Funny when he off-handedly mentioned that Media Molecule may allow creators to port their creations in the upcoming game Dreams to PC.

I cannot shake the thought that PlayStation may just start licensing some of their game engines, specifically Guerrilla Game’s Decima and the creation tools behind Dreams.

This is all speculation, but I have been mulling it over. I have been reading the tea leaves, if you will. Please, indulge me and see how I think PlayStation may be gearing up to sell more than just video games and consoles.

I want to start with Guerrilla Games and their Decima engine. Decima has been used in six games:

  • Killzone: Shadowfall
  • Until Dawn
  • Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
  • RIGS
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn
  • Death Stranding

A short list, but the facts that accompany those titles is interesting. Three of the games were made by second-party studios: Supermassive Games and Kojima Productions. Two of them are PS VR titles and one is confirmed for a PC release (Death Stranding). This says to me that Decima, while seemingly tailored to open-world titles, is pliable. It even can support a strand game with a wide network of players engaging in the same game world, unlike something like Frostbite with Anthem. Decima appears to be powerful and diverse.

Sharing is in the code of Decima too. Here is technical director Michiel van der Leeuw in an interview with Len Mariken Maessen reporting for The Next Web on December 20, 2019:

Inventor types like us don’t just like to make things, we like to share them. Sharing makes you stronger. Sometimes you don’t get anything back but thanks – that’s also nice. But sometimes you find someone who’s on the same track, and it gives you all this creative energy. It’s all just code in the end, anyway: it’s the mindset of the maker that matters.

The sharing has gone beyond the PS4 as well. Death Stranding is releasing on PC this summer and will be published by 505 Games, not by SIE Worldwide Studios. If the report on Horizon making its way to the PC is true, that would have to be a SIE joint. Death Stranding alone proves Decima is capable of porting its games to PC, but Horizon would be a poster-child for the engine’s prowess.

The other half of this equation is Dreams. Media Molecule has been developing Dreams for nearly eight years. The game runs on Media Molecule’s BubbleBath engine and the tools players will use are what the developer used to make Dreams itself. Its long development cycle is just another testament to Sony’s willingness to back their first-party developers to the max and allow for such long development cycles. Sony bought Media Molecule back in 2010 to “secure excellence in game development for current and future PlayStation platforms.” Dreams certainly seems to be nothing if not excellence in game development.

The games that have been developed during the game’s early access period are astonishing to look at from afar. From the picture-perfect food, to the inevitable Star Wars game, to making E3 demos for the masses, to recreating Dead Space(!), the community seems to have taken the tools Media Molecule has created and run with them.

Seeing what people can make with Dreams always made me wonder what if someone made a full-fledged game and wanted to charge for it. If someone used Dreams as their game engine, would there be a way for them to make money off their game. Creative Director Mark Healey has thought about it too. In an interview with Edge Magazine in March 2018, Healey said that people selling Dreams-made games on PSN was a long term goal for the team.

The golden egg for that needs to crack for my theory is porting these Dreams game to other platforms. It appears to be another long-term goal for Media Molecule, according to Media Molecule co-founder Kareem Ettouneym at the View Conference:

The very limited exporting features [at] the moment are like exporting a video, but we have in the long-term [plans for] exporting a standalone game outside of Dreams entirely—exporting to other devices and beyond.

What ties these two engines and this idea I have together is how PlayStation’s leadership has been staked going into the next-generation where ecosystems will be the dominating factor. In 2019, PlayStation saw two new internal promotions to executive positions: Jim Ryan became the CEO and President in April and Hermen Hulst became the studio head of SIE Worldwide Studios, which oversees all first-party development. Both executives have spent their time with the European division of PlayStation. The company has been centralizing key people in the company’s executive leadership in Europe, home to both Guerrilla Games and Media Molecule. You may also recognize Hermen as the (now former) Managing Director of Guerrilla Games.

I agree with Mat Piscatella that ecosystems will be the battle to be won in 2020. It is readily apparent that is what Microsoft believes. It’s a practice that works pretty well for Apple. I think that Decima and Bubblebath can adapt to a wide variety of platforms and ecosystems. We know Decima has some sort of pipeline in place for porting massive open-world games to the PC. It even works with game streaming services based off Horizon joining the PS Now library this month until April. Horizon is technically on PC right now. We know they both work with VR development and it is a safe bet that they work with the PS5. These engines are future-proof for more than a PlayStation.

PlayStation has spent the PS4 generation backing their first-party studios, championing open-world, single player games, and making the PS4 “the best place to play.” As the industry moves into its next-generation, the “place to play” matters less than it ever has. Cross-play barriers are being shattered. Cloud streaming is stepping onto the scene in a big way. Games are no longer trapped in a special box under the TV, they go every where with us. I think PlayStation doesn’t just want to be the “place:” They want to power the play.

Apple TV+ – One in Thirty-Three Million

Why is nobody talking about #LittleAmerica? Oh yeah, it’s on AppleTV+.

I gotta say, out of the four shows I’ve watched on AppleTV+, so far I’m loving three of them (Little America, For All Mankind, & Morning Show). What other network or streaming service has that track record?

– Peter Sciretta via Twitter

Peter’s thoughts echo my feelings about Apple TV+ and the shows that Abby and I have been watching on the service – The Morning Show, For All Mankind, See, and Servant. We just wrapped up For All Mankind not long ago (holy cow, that finale) and devoured Servant week-by-week. We are near the end of The Morning Show and have half of See left. The two of us are shocked how much of a banger we think each of these shows are.

Granted, like Peter says in a follow-up tweet, there are plenty of shows on Apple TV+ that I haven’t watched, either because I am not interested in them (Dickinson and Helpsters for example) or I just haven’t made time due to the flood of new TV shows/rewatching Better Call Saul (Truth Be Told and Little America fit this mold). They can’t all be slam dunks either, right? Although, the press seems to be digging Little America quite a bit.

I certainly hear the praises for some of these shows online and on podcasts, like Upgrade. The echo chamber of Twitter is ringing with endorsements, but I don’t know anyone personally that has even seen these shows. Abby and I have done our due diligence as avid TV watchers. Particularly with For All Mankind, we have bugged my dad quite a bit about checking it out, knowing it would be right up his alley. I’ve told my space-loving friend about it too, but once he heard it is on Apple TV+, he seemed to check out.

I’m not sure if it is bias against Apple and its products (he is a ride-or-die PC and Android user) or just a lack of signing up for yet another streaming service, even as a trial. There is also the hurdle of actually using the service. Without owning an Apple device, users will either watch online or through the app on one of the listed devices/TVs. More platforms are coming soon according to Apple, but it clearly is not as wide spread as streaming titans like Netflix or Hulu. Apple TV+ is just not as convenient.

A major convenience is there for anyone who has bought a new Apple product since September 10, 2019 with Apple offering a free year of Apple TV+. If you don’t buy a new Apple device, the low entry fee of $5 a month is enticing when compared to the $15 or so for Netflix. This is certainly working too with reports of a 33.6 million customer base in the US during Q4 2019. That is over half of Netflix’s 61.3 million reported in that same quarter.

Maybe the odds are not in my favor and I just do not have personal friends within that 33.6 million. I do wonder though that if these shows were on HBO or Netflix, if I’d have an easier time getting friends to give them a shot or even sign up for a service.

As a platform (the Apple TV app) and as a service (Apple TV+), I am slightly reminded of iTunes. Before its death in late 2019, iTunes was a behemoth. It was even a huge deal when Apple brought it to Windows. The Apple TV app and its “+” service are in relative infancy if it is to grow into the platform Apple surely hopes to make it.

The streaming wars are full-steam ahead. While Apple has had a strong start, I wonder if they can keep their user base going after these free trials expire. I wonder if the quality of the content will continue to surpass my expectations (or just be consistent with the bar they’ve set so far, that’d be great too). I wonder what the introduction of even more services will do. I am excited to keep on watching though: Both the shows and the service as they develop.

Upgrading My SNES Cartridge Collection

I finally found the means to actually play all the Super Nintendo games that I have been acquiring over the past few years with the purchase of a Super NT. I love the system. Now that I can actually play these games, I felt like my cartridges needed some sort of upgrade too.

I’m a bit of a completionist when it comes to collecting and displaying my game collection. I love showing off the boxes and I have an immense attachment to the little paper booklets games used to come with called instruction manuals. When it is a game or series I care for, I try to own a complete copy of that game. I did it with all the GameCube Zelda games about a year ago. I feel satisfied when a set is complete.

For my SNES games, they are all loose carts. Most of the games I own for the SNES come in around $100+ for a complete-in-box set. Buying the box, manual, and game separate can sometimes be cheaper, but still is costly.

Outside of the price, these boxes are 30-year-old cardboard boxes that vary in condition. These are inherently more applicable to showcasing than storing cartridges these days. A personal example of this is my N64 copy of Ocarina of Time: The box still has the original shrink wrap around all sides except the opening flap. I’ve removed the game and sealed that box right back up in its protective plastic casing. Looks real nice on a shelf (or stored in a cabinet in my case), but still leaves the game loose.

Some of my SNES games came with tiny plastic dust covers that slide over the bottom of the cartridge. I have three of them, so I chose the three games I wanted to protect the most. Not a fair shake to the other gems I do happen to own.

All of this to say, I found a solution that meets my needs quite nicely. I happened across these SNES game cases dubbed BitBoxes from Stone Age Gamer. They offer these sturdy looking boxes in bundles and provide art that you may either print yourself or have their printer create and cut for a fee. They were exactly what I was looking for. Great looking boxes with even nicer art to protect my carts and show them off at the same time. I ordered 10 of them without the document straps and printed the art myself.

The art selection is real expansive. For most games I looked at, there was an option for a horizontal layout that matches the original boxes and a vertical option that takes the art of the original boxes and unifies the design. A good example is Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. The vertical art captures the spirit of the original box. The back text and images are identical; even the barcodes match! If you can’t already tell, I opted for the vertical design. They all came out of my printer looking sharp and clean.

When the boxes arrived, I was surprised at how thick and sturdy the plastic was. The whole box’s thickness reminds me of a VHS tape box. The inside has a cross cutout in the middle. US SNES game cartridges go vertically, while Japanese and PAL game cartridges go horizontally. The sleeve the art goes into has only one way in with the bottom being sealed off, kind of like a protective sleeve for a playing card. These are high quality boxes.

I do wish I had gotten the document straps though. They are just little plastic straps the cross the left side of the box interior for holding the instruction manuals. I only have one SNES manual (Super Metroid and it is missing the cover). It fits perfectly in the prepared area, but it doesn’t stay put when opening the box, since there is no strap. Certainly something to keep in mind if you have or plan on buying instruction manuals for any games.

Top to bottom, I am throughly impressed. Stone Age Gamer sells boxes for NES, SNES, N64, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Master System, Genesis, 32X, and Game Gear. I am already tallying up what it will cost me some day to buy boxes for my N64 and Game Boy collections.

Reggie Fils-Aimé — Present Value Podcast

Reflecting on Leadership, Pizza, Video Games, and “My Body is Ready” | Reggie Fils-Aimé — Present Value Podcast:

I’ve had this podcast queued up for a couple weeks and just now got to it. As someone who has been aware of and following Reggie as the President of Nintendo NA since the Wii days, it is uniquely refreshing to hear him talk with a focus on leadership: Even when his examples come from his time at Nintendo. 

I enjoyed hearing about the business decision to pack-in Wii Sports with each Wii system. There was great discussion about failing forward with examples not only from Reggie’s time at Nintendo, but at Pizza Hut too. My favorite discussion point though, was the importance of a brand and how a product can damage the brand, despite it being a financial hit on paper.

The episode is a rather insightful look at the leader behind the Directs and memes. Reggie has always been a force within the video game industry. I think it is safe to say that the students and leaders he meets in this new phase of life will be impacted by that same force. This podcast episode was a great listen.

My Journey to Playing with Super Power – Thoughts on the Super NT

Back in December 2012, a friend gave me a Super Nintendo they had lying around. They knew I played games and thought I’d appreciate it. I had no games though and wouldn’t get my first one until October 2013, but I wouldn’t really try to play it until I found the power cable and bought Super Metroid in September 2014.

When I popped my newly acquired Metroid cart, I was met with a bright orange and red screen. My SNES was dead. Probably had been the entire time, but I never gave it a shot until I bought a game that I really wanted to try out. I’d get it fixed in 2015 for $45 from a local game store. It worked for the time being, but more video output issues would present themselves when I bought Donkey Kong County in August 2018. I would confirm my SNES’ death when my wife let me bring my CRT into our apartment in January 2019.

I tell you all this for two reasons: 

  1. I love telling back story and providing context.
  2. To clue you in on my frustrating history with my SNES

Specifically (and obviously), the issue has been the SNES’ visual output. For the past six years I have tried on and off to find the best solution for actually playing the SNES games I have bought. I was not keen on paying to get my console fixed again. That seemed like a short term solution, especially since I never stored the SNES in rough conditions after the first repair.

I fell down the RGB rabbit hole back in 2014 (awfully convenient timing after buying Super Metroid). A Kotaku article by Chris Person introduced me to the YouTube channel My Life In Gaming. Coury Carlson and Marc “Try” Duddleson run the channel with the primary goal of teaching people how to get the best picture quality and gameplay out of their game consoles, from retro consoles to the current generations. Their video on the SNES taught me all about 1-CHIP models and mods. The average going price for a SNES in my local game store scene always seemed to be between $80 to $100, with no real guarantee of a 1-CHIP model, which my quality-oriented brain would prefer to have.

Outside of the cost to replace the SNES, there was the question of how to play the darn thing on modern displays. That’s a whole tangent for another time, but the gist is that going the route of a Framemeister would shoot me north of $300, while an Open Source Scan Converter (OSSC) is around $200. Let’s round it out and just say the replacement process would have cost between $300 and $400. That’s a hefty price, even though an external scaler is useable with multiple platforms.

In October 2017, Analogue announced the Super NT and opened pre-orders. The Super NT would be released four months later in February 2018, which is when I would become aware of both the system and the company, thanks to none-other-than My Life In Gaming. Through the power of a Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), the Super NT mimics the hardware of the SNES, instead of emulating the games.

I loved the Super NT the moment I laid eyes on it. Analogue gives off a bold, matter-of-fact vibe with clear results of hard work and slick design. Frankly, they remind me of Apple in a lot of ways. 

It also helped that the Super NT sells for $189.99, plus roughly $20 in shipping. Wireless controllers are sold separately by 8BitDo for $40, but the Super NT can use original controllers too. What appealed to me the most financially was the system fused a new SNES with a high quality scaler. Combining the hardware in a slick package means a simple set-up with top tier results. 

I hadn’t pulled the trigger still due to cost and trying to responsibly manage the budget. I kept my eye on it closely after starting my new job in 2019, hoping I could make it happen. Back in April 2019, three of the four color variants were still available on Analogue’s site:

Sometime in the summer I noticed that the Black variant became sold out alongside the transparent edition. Then this past Winter, I noticed that the SF variant also entered the club of sold out. I have to admit that a twinge worry filled me that the whole Super NT line would ride off into the sunset; Analogue doesn’t seem to have a track record of reproducing consoles. For a Christmas gift, my parents graciously contributed a chunk of cash and my wife agreed to let me pull the trigger on my own Super NT. 

So that’s the long story of how I ended up with a Super NT, but what do I think of the thing?

Thoughts on the Super NT

The Super NT provided a complete 180. I went from a twice broken SNES to a stellar 1080p60: From from this to this.

The system is capable of outputting 1080p 60fps and is set to that resolution by default. You can scale it down to 720p or 480p, if you are looking for a specific resolution for a certain monitor. For the pixel peeping crowd, there is an advanced setting that offers height and width options.

I watched tons of videos before my Super NT arrived. I wanted the perfect settings to make my SNES games shine. I had been deprived any form of video quality for so long that I wanted the very best I could get. I trust My Life In Gaming implicitly. A quick search on YouTube will turn up “Super Nt Settings for the Obsessive Compulsive” by FirebrandX. I’ve seen FirebrandX’s name in online discussions about retro game quality before, so I knew he was a solid resource.

When I hooked up the Super NT, I headed straight for the video settings and copied My Life In Gaming’s option of 1365 x 1149, which was modeled after one of Try’s PVMs. Booting up Super Metroid for the first time was, if you’ll allow me to be dramatic, stunning. The pixels were razor sharp. The colors popped. The top edge of the screen was cut off.

This is not My Life In Gaming’s fault. My TV crops on all edges of the screen. I can’t resize the image at all on my TV, so this cropping should not have surprised me.

This did help dawn on me that my current set up, which is just casual living room play; not high-quality capture/streaming. So I ended up with these settings that perfectly fit my set up:

  • 1080p 60fps
  • 4.5x scaling at 1234 x 1080 or 8:7
  • Interpolation on for both axis

These specs are not compliant with FirebrandX or square pixel purists, but I realized with the Super NT in my living room, I don’t need to be a pixel purist. It goes above and beyond the needs of my current set up with head room for any future needs. It is truly satisfying to have options for the first time in six years.

Besides a gamut of video settings, you can tweak a few settings of the system itself. The UI font and colors can be changed, even the power LED has a few options. The system is rather focused in its options, giving just what the device needs to play games accurately and in high graphical quality. There is no bloat here.

There is a method for updating the software Super NT owners. All Super NT systems come with a standard size SD card slot on the right-hand side for the use of updating the firmware from Analogue’s site. Users can also choose to install the “jailbreak” firmware. While jailbreak in regards to software usually means unofficial support, the Super NT’s jailbreak firmware has the support/blessing from Analogue engineer Kevin Horton, from what I can find out. This gave me confidence to go ahead and install the latest version.

I specifically wanted the jailbreak firmware not for playing ROMs, but for the cartridge copying feature. With the CopySNES option, the Super NT will dump the inserted cartridge and its save data. I wanted the ability to back up my save data for my SNES games to help preserve that data against the inevitable death of the cartridge batteries.

I’m not one for primarily playing ROMs. I try to own the games I play, but I do understand the need for ROM preservation and giving players access to games they could never play otherwise. In that vein, I did load up a fan-translated ROM of BS Zelda Satellaview game from 1995. Not only did the ROM play flawlessly and look great, but I got a taste of a game that could not be played by traditional means.

The pixels are not the only element that looks slick. The Super NT’s physical design is a plastic shell, but I have high doubts that it’ll yellow like my original SNES. It has clean, rounded edges with the bold purple power and reset buttons. If you managed to buy one before the other color variants were sold out or you buy one second-hand will have the same form factor, but with the chosen color scheme. On the bottom is a large square rubber foot. I like this base much more than four small feet in each corner. The power supply is a micro-USB cable. I do wish it was USB-C, but I am glad that the upcoming Analogue Pocket does use USB-C. Beside the USB cable and its power brick, the included HDMI cable feature the Analogue logo. It’s a small touch that strikes me as Apple-eque. I like it. I’m surprised an Analogue sticker was not included.

The cartridge port opens smooth and cartridges fit in snuggly. Removing cartridges often required me to use two hands because of how snug the games were. There is no lever mechanism for popping cartridges out here. The Super NT also does not like dirty cartridges. Both my copy of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past wouldn’t load at first due to dirty contacts. A quick clean fixed the issue for both games.

The Super NT is a long-awaited answer to my SNES problem. It has the power to keep the few SNES games I have playable for far longer than I think a replacement SNES would have. I may have been through the ringer with SNES video output, therefore leading to a form of bias, but the Super NT goes beyond meeting my needs. Analogue’s intense focus on the high end user with pixel perfect output and performance trickles down to benefit the user driven by nostalgia. The Super NT provides a modern design with the respect and quality one of the 16-bit titans deserves. Like the games it plays, the Super NT will stand the test of time.

RetroN Jr. Announced at CES 2020

RetroN Jr. Lets You Play Your Game Boy Games on Your Giant HDTV by Andrew Liszewski at Gizmodo

Now that ThinkGeek is no more, Hyperkin will be carrying the “April Fool’s Day prank turned real” torch and turning the RetroN Jr.—a gag product it originally introduced on April 1, 2017—into a legitimate way to enjoy classic Nintendo Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance titles on a big screen TV.

I’d use the word “legitimate” loosely in this context.

The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) was this week out in Las Vegas, NV. There was a tons of wacky, cool, and overly ambitious tech revealed this past week. I won’t be commenting on it all. I think John Voorhees at MacStories did a great job of summing the highlights up. I wanted to throw up a small post about the RetroN Jr.

It is the next emulation box from Hyperkin in a similar vain of the RetroN 5. These plug ’n play boxes come off cheap like what you’d find in a drug store toy aisle. Back in 2014, before I dove into the RGB rabbit hole, did think the RetroN 5 looked dope. When I look at the RetroN Jr., I see a nostalgia fueled cash grab, but I see why this type of product keeps happening.

The middle ground for bringing classic games to the modern era is still developing with first-party mini consoles like the SNES Classic or the Sega Genesis Mini. These often sell out quickly though and only play the games pre-installed by the company producing it. Portable games have not had that demand met yet by official console makers yet.

The higher fidelity end of the market is flourishing with scalers and the upcoming Analogue Pocket, put that’s a steep price of admission for the casual consumer with their copy of Tetris or Pokémon Blue lying around. Hyperkin has seen this gap in the market and is meeting that need, even if it involves cutting corners.

It’s a balancing act: features and price. Someone like myself knows the value of accurately running these games in higher visual quality, but until official consoles are produced and can stay in production or FPGAs become cheaper to make, companies like Hyperkin will prey on nostalgia of consumers.

Big Three Predictions 2020

I love predictions. They are an annual highlight for me before E3 every summer and amp up Apple event hype whenever those come around. There is a rush in nailing a prediction, gut-busting humor in the wild ones, and fan-created disappointment when big corporations don’t do what is thought to be obvious.

In the past, I’ve tweeted out predictions or recorded them on podcasts. I usually keep a list in the Notes app on my phone. As some Apple 2020 prediction podcasts episodes hit my head this week, I had the idea to share my video game predictions for the record. Then I can look back in 2021 to see how wrong I was.

I’ll write out three predictions for Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox for the year of 2020. I will likely do the same for E3 2020 with predictions focused on the event itself. It will be an exciting year with new consoles coming out from both PlayStation and Xbox. Heck, a new Switch is rumored too. Here are my predictions for the three major platform holders for the year.


  1. The next 3D Mario game is revealed and released in 2020.
  2. Switch revision with more power is announced. Switch lifetime sales will surpass 70 million units.
  3. The next Mario Kart game announced.


  1. PS5 will be fully revealed in a Wired article with a press event around E3 that reveals price and date. Backward compatible with all systems, including PS3 and Vita.
  2. Horizon Zero Dawn sequel will be launch window title for PS5.
  3. PS VR 2 will be mentioned by Sony.


  1. Series X will be the only “next-gen” Xbox available this holiday shopping season.
  2. While Halo Infinite will be a lunch title, it will have some differentiating feature from the Xbox One edition of the game, despite being cross-generational.
  3. The Initiative’s first game will be revealed.

A few final thoughts and comments for my predictions. I modeled the format after Connected and their “Rickies,” specifically no half points and everything written done has to come true for it to count. I think that keeps my hype in check. But to let some of that hype loose, I’ll mirror my friend Peter Spezia and his tradition of an outlandish prediction he dubs “Kiefer” predictions (referring to the announcement that Kiefer Sutherland would voice the legendary solider Snake in Metal Gear Solid V). And because Nintendo announcements excite me the most…

The next 3D Mario game will be Super Mario Odyssey 2 and will launch this summer, while Nintendo’s big fall game will be the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

This is most assuredly wrong, but if it isn’t, you read it here first. Here’s to 2020! 


Max Frequency is a website for my ideas to find a home. 280 characters is not always enough. Writing for other sites provides pressures to output articles at an expected, often accelerated pace. Max Frequency solves both those problems for me.

Over the past year, I’ve ventured outside my typical news and gaming consumption and discovered podcasts, websites, and (most importantly) people I care to listen to. Starting a new job in 2019 with a total commute of 10+ hours a week, encouraged me to find a flood of staggered weekly podcasts. My commutes are often the highlights of my week thanks to my new discoveries of shows like Connected, The Talk Show, Giant Bombcast, and Accidental Tech Podcast.

This influx of podcast consumption has led to more reading of blogs and seeking multiple perspectives on the news I care about. And all of this has kicked my various ideas in a note on my phone into a reality. I’m stubborn though and hate starting projects without a name: And I find that naming something is the hardest part of any project.

I like what I came up with—Max Frequency. It communicates the identity of the blog quite well, I think. It’s me at my frequency. No pressures for deadlines, no list of required news. Only articles that I want to write or share. It also opens up the possibility for audio content if I ever get behind the mic again. Plus, it is a pun.

I hope you enjoy what I write here. I’ve never owned a website before. I think having skin in the game will motivate me. I want to thank my wife Abby for encouraging me to make this and having my back the whole way. I love you.