Max Frequency Year One in Review

And just like that, year one of Max Frequency is in the bag. I liked working on it so much I decided to reup for year two.

Max Frequency has proven to be just the kind of outlet I needed and continue to need in the video game news space. What I wrote in my introduction post still stands true:

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.

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.

Not trying to make video game coverage my full time job and just expressing it through my passion for writing has been liberating to say the least. I found drive and creativity I hadn’t had for some time. And that feeling comes and goes, but I know I’ll have my own tiny slice of the internet to share my work.

Before listing off the articles I’m most proud of, let’s break down Max Frequency by the numbers.

Total Site Views – 2,619

Most viewed articles:

Number per top countries:

  • USA – 1558
  • UK – 191
  • China – 144

Most downloaded item:

Total Articles published – 260

And here is a list of the articles I am most proud of working on in my first year of Max Frequency. Thank you all for reading my work and supporting me in 2020. I have some ideas for 2021. Maybe they will pan out, maybe not, but I do know that I have immensely enjoyed writing this site and can’t see it going away. Thank you and enjoy!

Chasing the Stick: The History of Naughty Dog during the PS4 Era (duh)

This is (obviously) the post I am most proud of in 2020. I never planned to write the definitive history of Naughty Dog’s PS4 years when I made Max Frequency. This was the highlight of Max Frequency in 2020. At least 655 people read or listened to the story, hopefully all of it. There is more I’d love to go back and fill in surround the final months of The Last of Us Part II’s development since I was avoiding spoilers like mad. Maybe next time…

Cutting the Hair: The History of Neil Druckmann’s Hair during the PS4 Era (double duh)

What started out as a lunch break joke turned into the blog’s third most popular article of the year. It surpassed the day one numbers of Chasing the Stick. I attribute that entirely to co-writer Halley Gross replying to it on Twitter. The foil to my serious history of Naughty Dog is definitely a favorite. Now that Neil has cut his hair, it is only a matter of time until his hair is long again and their next game is released.

The Last of Us Part II Review

To round out my year of Naughty Dog coverage, I’m proud of my review of the game that kicked it all off. Spoilers ahead for those that have not finished The Last of Us Part II.

King of Custom – PS5 Specs Revealed

2020 was certainly the year of hype with two brand new console family launches. The silence surrounding the reveal and launch of the PS5 was particularly annoying, especially with Microsoft being more transparent (and leak-prone). I enjoyed digging into the potential of the PS5 and seeing what developers thought of the newly revealed hardware and what it could actually mean for game development.

280 Characters is Not Enough

This is part of why I made a blog. Social media and hot takes are killing thoughtful discourse. It’s truly a shame and I hope more people lean into having real conversations.

Returning to Death Stranding Six Months Later

Death Stranding would have been my favorite game I played last year if The Last of Us Part II had not come out. Connecting the United States of America through packages sounds so tacky and Kojima, but it actually works. The final stretch where you cross all of America to get to the end boss is oddly profound and satisfactory.

Returning to Shadow Moses: My Journey Back Through Metal Gear Solid

I didn’t technically play these games in 2020, but I did compile all my tweets from 2019 into a cohesive post. I am excited to have this record to look back on in the years to come when I eventually play all* of the Metal Gear Solid games again. (*I didn’t play Peace Walker or MGSV, but maybe next time).

First Impressions of New Consoles

New consoles are dope. I shared my impressions with the Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, and (surprisingly) Google Stadia. Curious to say how both these posts and the consoles themselves will age.

Analogue Pocket Preview

I knew how excited I was and continue to be for the Pocket. I figured this would be a fun topic to research and provide the most comprehensive article of information on the Pocket. I did math for this one. 

Analogue Consoles Entirely Out of Stock

Analogue Store

I had a feeling that this was going to happen soon. I kept look at the Mega SG consoles, noticing that the stock was limited to the USA and JPN variant. The Super NT has been out of stock throughout 2020. The Analogue Pocket famously sold out in 10 minutes. The Analogue DAC is also out of stock, ending the second run of the niche digital-to-analog converter.

Those fortunate enough with an Analogue Pocket pre-order should expect the console in May 2021. Analogue is also launching a PC-Engine/Turbografx console dubbed the Analogue Duo this year. I imagine pre-orders will sell out immediately.

In fact, as of this writing, the only Analogue product in stock is a triple pack of Mega SG cartridge adapters for $49.99, plus $20~ in shipping. Hopefully Analogue can resupply all of their non-exclusive variant consoles and make some new ones (like an affordable NES console). They do rock solid work and I love my Super NT and DAC. I cannot wait for my Pocket to arrive to test and play it to no end. I just wish Analogue’s products were more widely available for folks.

Awesome Games Done Quick 2021 Has Begun!

Games Done Quick website

One of my all time favorite events of the year officially kicked off yesterday. Awesome Games Done Quick 2021 is raising money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Speedrunners are playing a plethora of games 24/7 this week all for the foundation. You can watch the stream and donate at the link above. Here is the schedule if you want to find games that interest you.

Abby and I watched the 100% Diddy Kong Racing run last night. She had a blast watching one of her favorite childhood games be played at one of the highest levels possible. You definitely should tune in this week.

Big Three Predictions 2021

The new year would not be complete without a healthy chunk of industry predictions. My second post ever on Max Frequency was my 2020 predictions. It is a sacred pastime and one I enjoy throughly. Before we recap my 2020 predictions and look into my crystal ball for 2021, here are the rules I have set for myself:

  • Everything written down must come true for the prediction to be counted as correct.

And that’s it. I do three predictions each for Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. I also close them all out with a “Kiefer”-level prediction. This is some outlandish, over-the-moon prediction inspired by the wackiness of having Kiefer Sutherland be the voice of Venom Snake in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

Let’s see how I fared in 2020.

Nintendo

  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.

No strictly new 3D Mario game was announced nor was released in 2021. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury was announced but is releasing on February 12, 2021. So some new 3D Mario content, but off by two months!

No new Switch model, despite earlier rumors. The Switch console most assuredly surpassed 70 million units sold though. The last official numbers were reported on November 5, 2020 with 68.3 million units. That specific quarter was 6.86 million consoles alone. Since this was before the traditional holiday shopping season, I feel safe claiming that the Switch has surpassed 70 million units by the end of 2020. We’ll find out officially on March 31, 2021 when the annual shareholders meeting occurs. Still doesn’t give me the point though.

Not quite what I had envisioned, but a new Mario Kart game was announced and released this year! If only I didn’t have carpet in half of the new apartment…One point locked for the Nintendo chunk!

PlayStation

  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. 

So believably wrong. The reveal of the PS5 was whacky, cancelled E3 or not.

What is a launch window anyway? Completely subjective, I’m sure. The closest thing to a release date for Horizon Forbidden West is a window of the second half of 2021. While it possibly could happen within the first year of the PS5, I don’t think it counts as a launch window title. Wrong again.

While Sony didn’t talk about the PS VR 2 in the way that I had hoped for, they did talk about VR on the PS5 and the future of their VR plans.

“PlayStation believes in VR. Sony believes in VR, and we definitely believe at some point in the future, VR will represent a meaningful component of interactive entertainment. Will it be this year? No. Will it be next year? No. But will it come at some stage? We believe that…” – PlayStation CEO, Jim Ryan in an interview with The Washington Post on Oct. 29, 2020

Is that specifically mentioning PS VR 2? Who’s to say? No one is here to stop me. So I give myself the point.

Xbox

  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.

I just did not believe the idea that Microsoft would launch two consoles simultaneously and undercut themselves in price, performance, and game design limitations. I do think that them launching two consoles and Sony launching two variants makes for a far more interesting, if not unprecedented, market.

My Halo prediction could still come true, except for the part about being a launch title.

All hail Geoff Keighley and The Game Awards. This was almost too close for comfort. I never played Perfect Dark on the N64, but this new game seems pretty dope. I am curious how building an entirely new studio from scratch to revive an old IP will pan out.

Lastly, there is the matter of last year’s Kiefer prediction:

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.

Oh so very wrong. Well, maybe we could drop the “very.” Like I mentioned before, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is on the horizon. While Nintendo’s big Fall game wasn’t the sequel to Breath of the Wild, we did get the prequel to it with Age of Calamity. Maybe we can say I was “oh so close, yet so far away.”

Out of all the predictions, I nabbed 3/10. That is terrible. I hurt myself with some two-sentence predictions. Don’t worry, I’ve learned my lesson. I will fare much better in 2021.

Nintendo

  1. Nintendo will acknowledge the GameCube’s 20th anniversary.
  2. For The Legend of Zelda’s 35th anniversary, Nintendo will release a 3D Zelda collection, just like they did for Mario in 2020.
  3. There is no new “Pro” Nintendo Switch model released in 2021.

2021 is a huge anniversary year for the Big N. The biggest by far is The Legend of Zelda. There was a huge celebration when Zelda had its 25th anniversary, most notably with the release of Skyward Sword. I can’t imagine a 2021 where Nintendo doesn’t celebrate Zelda’s 35th anniversary. It also happens to be Metroid’s 35th anniversary, but hoping for any major form of celebration is a fool’s hope.

The other notable anniversary is the launch of the GameCube, arguably my favorite Nintendo console of all time. Ideally (read as another fool’s hope) Nintendo would do some sort of GameCube library like they currently do for the NES and SNES on Switch Online. The GameCube is the second Nintendo home console (I see you Virtual Boy) to not have any sort of digital presence on Nintendo’s current consoles and shops. It’s time for the GameCube to get the respect it deserves.

Since the rumors were so prevalent heading into 2020, I’m deciding to swing the other way when it comes to the Switch Pro. I think Nintendo is happy riding out one more year before releasing the Switch Pro. That’s not to say they won’t announce it this year, but I don’t see it releasing in 2021.

PlayStation

  1. Sony will buy Bluepoint Games.
  2. Naughty Dog’s next project will not be announced in 2021.
  3. Backward compatibility will come to the PS5 for more than the PS4.

Sony and Bluepoint Games have an incredibly tight second-party relationship. I think Sony will look to lock that in as a first party. Sony has an incredible library of games that would thrive off a full-blown remake from the best of the best. Demon’s Souls being a launch title for the PS5 continues to showcase the prowess of Bluepoint Games and Sony’s hardware. It’s time for Sony to lock Bluepoint down.

Historically, Naughty Dog doesn’t wait long to announce their next project. I say they pivot and fully embrace the silence that they took for the bulk of the development of The Last of Us Part II. Now, I could be proven wrong in January or February when they announce a PS5 port of The Last of Us Part II with some fully featured multiplayer game, but I’m thinking the Dogs may be quiet for awhile.

This is my vague way to say that Sony better let us play those digital PS1 and PS2 games we bought back in the day. Heck, go the way and figure out PS3 compatibility and bring along the PSP and the Vita. Make the PS5 the end-all-be-all PlayStation.

Xbox

  1. Halo Infinite is delayed again.
  2. At least two games previously confirmed for cross-generational support will drop their Xbox One versions.
  3. Microsoft will announce that the Xbox One consoles will receive an xCloud app, turning them into streaming boxes.

As much as it pains me to write it, I feel like Halo Infinite is going to slip again, likely to early 2022. Maybe 343 will release a multiplayer beta to soften the blow, but I think Chief slips one more time.

Which some what ties into my next prediction, I think this cross-generational support is going to slowly vanish from Xbox. I can’t see Halo Infinite making its way to Xbox One. Throw Fable, Forza, or whatever else in there too. It’s already begun with Microsoft Flight SimulatorAfter both Sony taking the “announce cross-gen titles as they come” approach and the utter debacle of Cyberpunk 2077’s console launch, I can’t imagine Microsoft will want their studios to support six different platforms.

And building upon the blow that would cause, I think Microsoft will announce that an xCloud app will come to Xbox One consoles. Most likely the One S and One X, since they both can output 4K video. If my phone can “run” The Master Chief Collection, I think the One S and One X can stream some games. Not only would this technically mean that you can play these games on your older hardware, but it also helps bolster Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions, which is what Microsoft and Xbox really want their customers to sign up for.

I’ve kept you waiting for my Big Boss Kiefer-level prediction, haven’t I? Well no longer! Behold!

Nintendo will release a 3D Zelda collection that includes an HD port of Ocarina of Time 3D and Majora’s Mask 3D, as well as Wind Waker HD and Twilight Princess HD. The long-rumored HD port of Skyward Sword will be a standalone release.

I think what makes this “Kiefer”-levels is the versions of the 3D Zelda games I chose. The biggest shock would be porting the 3DS remakes of the N64 classics in HD. Nintendo could easily just use their N64 emulation from Super Mario 3D All-Stars and call it a day. I think they’ll go above and beyond for Zelda though and utilize those recent remakes. They already gave the GameCube Zelda games the HD treatment and have been porting Wii U games left and right. Releasing Skyward Sword alone would be inline with other decisions that Nintendo has made with new releases of older games.

2021 feels like it will be a banger of a year for video games to me. There’s just enough shrouded in fog that amps my excitement. Nintendo could really come out with all the pomp and circumstance for Zelda, Metroid, Super Nintendo World (the theme park, not the similarly named, theme park inspired Wii U game Nintendo Land). PlayStation can keep the train chugging along by making big purchases and popularly demanded features a reality. Xbox can continue their resurgence with a laser focus on playing their games on any screen that will have their app. There is plenty of potential, all that remains to be seen is if the industry goes for it.