Grave Gamer News & Views — editorial

Is the Nintendo Switch Launching Too Early?

Breaking Down the Info from the Hybrid Console’s Big Presser


When Nintendo finally revealed the Switch back in late October, I was left more excited about the company’s future in hardware than I have been in years. Granted, that initial trailer was the idealized vision of the console: it was direct in its messaging while shrewdly omitting any hype-strangling details like battery life, resolution, and, most importantly, price. What we were left with was the exciting prospect of console quality games (like the newest Zelda opus) on a handheld hybrid that features modular controllers; a machine that cobbles together what Nintendo is best at – forward thinking portability and first-party games so good they stand head and shoulders with the best this industry has to give.

On Thursday, Nintendo began filling in the blanks, setting about to answer (at least some) of the questions fans have had circling in their heads since the system’s unveiling. You can watch the entire conference here but, coming from someone that sat through a livestream of the proceeding – awaiting something, anything, that signaled Nintendo’s return to form – I’d recommend just reading up on the cliff notes.

Though the affair was poised in the same fashion as one of Sony’s knockout E3 conferences, Nintendo couldn’t land the same blows. I began the show with more enthusiasm than Nintendo let me leave with. After the abject failure of the Wii U (a console that only managed to push slightly north of 13 million units – the worst sales in Nintendo’s hardware history barring the Virtual Boy) the Switch needed to be touted as a reckoning. It was Nintendo’s chance to convince the fence-sitters to choose their side of the picket. We didn’t get that Thursday night.

Nintendo has always floundered in the stage show department, though. You’re asking the same company that thought this shit was a good idea to try and wow us in an hour and a half. Nintendo’s like that shy kid at the back of the class: he tests well and always turns in his homework, but the second you ask him to walk up to the board and present, he becomes a mumbling, incoherent mess. Of course they shit the bed. This is Nintendo we’re talking about. Credit to that first Switch video, though. I fell for it, too! I wrongly assumed Nintendo was trying to demonstrate they’ve turned a new leaf (no pun intended, Animal Crossing fans). At the presentation, however, it seems Nintendo isn’t just making its same old mistakes but brand new ones.

But I think it’s important to remember that a poor showcase isn’t enough reason to condemn the hardware itself. The tech, despite Nintendo’s aloof messaging, still looks cool. So let’s try to unpack what we learned at the showcase (and the info we gleaned in the days following) without having to suffer through awkward squid doctors and a translator whose probably looking for a new job right about now:


The Red Herb’s Top 10 Games of 2016

[Originally posted as A Totally Subjective List of 2016′s 10 Best Games on When Nerds Attack.]

2016 was a rough one. Whether it was methodically tearing our cultural icons away from us or trying to plant the seeds for a Twitter Age civil war, 2016 felt like a twelve month beatdown that had us collectively gasping against the ropes. But the realm of escapism thrived, especially in video games! This...

Resident Evil’s “Action Trilogy” Revisted

A Look Back at the Horror Franchise’s Gun-centric Releases

2016 marks Resident Evil’s 20th Anniversary and publisher Capcom has been celebrating all year long. The company announced a new sequel in Resident Evil VII which vibes as a huge course-correction for the franchise, seeing a return to the original game’s core tenants of environmental exploration, resource management, and hard horror. PS4 owners can download a playable glimpse of the future (which I’ve talked about repeatedly).

Capcom’s also released a new spin-off, Umbrella Corps, a game that proves sometimes a good idea on paper can lead to the virtual equivalent of a burning bag of shit on your doorstep. More successfully, they’ve been mining Resident Evil’s past, re-releasing oldies on current platforms. Resident Evil 0 saw a solid HD re-treatment in the vein of last year’s superb REmake Remaster. Beyond that, Capcom has also spent a string of summer month’s re-releasing uprezzed versions of Resident Evil’s “Action Trilogy” – a trifecta of RE4, 5, and 6.

Though these departures from the franchise’s perceived formula created a rift between old school fans and the new laser-pointed generation, one thing’s inarguable: the Action Trilogy helped push Resident Evil into the mainstream spotlight. Resident Evil 5, for instance, is not merely the top selling game in the series. It’s the best selling game in Capcom’s history. Not Mega Man. Not Street Fighter. Resident Evil 5. And taking second place silver? Resident Evil 6 – a game that some publications can’t write about without preceding it with “the divisive.”

Removed from their hype cycles and marketing blitzes, I re-played each game in the action arc as they’ve been released, beginning with 6 and ending on late August’s RE4. Below, I quickly break down what these game’s were when they launched and how they fare now in order to figure out if these titles really deserve the shit that’s been heaped on them since.

The Endless Void

My Time with, and Departure from, No Man’s Sky


I’ve jumped into a new system. Depleted my Hyperdrive reserves doing it. I’m going to have to craft a warp cell. Which means I’m going to have to craft Antimatter. Which means I’d need… Electron Vapors? Easy. Where the hell do I get Electron Vapors again…?

The screen’s flashing. There’s pirates nearby. They scanned my ship as soon as I leaped into this...

The Curious Case of the Dummy Finger


Resident Evil 7′s Most Enigmatic Puzzle Has Players Still Trying to Finger it Out

Earlier this week during E3, gaming’s biggest marketing blitz of the year, Capcom announced Resident Evil 7. They had to outright tell us the trailer we were seeing was related to their 25 year-old franchise, however, since the grimy, atmospheric and unnervingly creepy footage on display bore little resemblance to the hero power-fantasy firefights the franchise has morphed into since the Gamecube years.

For fans that still remember the feeling of unease when you opened a new door in the creaking Spencer Estate, this about-face was exciting as hell. Before we could catch our breath, though, Capcom dropped another surprise on our laps – PS4 owners would be able to experience the first-person horror firsthand with a playable demo available that very night (’course, it took some serious digging to find since PSN’s displays didn’t quite keep up with Capcom’s marketing plans).

The demo, titled Beginning Hour, isn’t necessarily a representation of the greater whole, just in the same way P.T. wasn’t exactly a chunk sliced off of whatever Silent Hills was going to be before Konami decided pachinko machines were a more lucrative market. Beginning Hour won’t even be a playable part of Resident Evil 7 when it releases next year. It’s an entity unto itself that serves as a taste of the new game’s tone and ideas.

You wake up in a desolate farmhouse. It’s dark, dank, and laden with creaking floors, near inaudible whispers, and distant footsteps. You can interact with a few items, like drawers, and explore the small length of the house, mostly running into debris, maggots, and locked doors. Oh, and creepy ass mannequins that, uh… well, let’s just say keep your eye on them.

You eventually come across a chained up cabinet with a VHS tape inside. It’s marked “Derelict House.” Upon booting the tape up, you don’t just passively watch. In a creepy little flair of design, you’re put in the role of Clancy, the cameraman, who’s filming Andre and Peter, the “Sewer Gators” Crew – an appreciable riff on haunted house hunters the likes of those Ghost Adventures fuckwads – as they investigate the abandoned Dulvey House. You’re given some light backstory but mostly spend this segment scrutinizing shadows. Don’t blink, though, and you’ll definitely see this old house isn’t quite empty…


From there, you’re on track to one of a few different endings the demo holds for players.