By Jeff Neuenschwander / December 31st, 2013
3. EarthBound Returns
The prodigal son returned in 2013.
For those that missed the story, Nintendo announced that they would be doing a special 30¢ sale to celebrate both the 30th anniversary of the Famicom (which became the NES in Western regions) and the opening of the Wii U Virtual Console. During that time, we would be able to purchase games like Kirby’s Adventure, Super Metroid, and Punch-Out!! among others. At the same time, Nintendo revealed that Japan would be getting Mother 2, a.k.a. EarthBound here in the West, at the special 30¢ price.
EarthBound wasn’t even revealed as a potential release for Western gamers.
Needless to say, the EarthBound fanbase took notice and took to Miiverse to voice their frustration. The backlash was so great that Iwata made a mention of it during a later Nintendo Direct. And at the same time, he announced what we’ve been waiting years to hear: EarthBound was coming back to the Americas.
No… wait… It wasn’t just coming to North America. It was coming to the WHOLE ****ING WORLD!
That’s right. For the first time ever, our friends in the PAL region would experience this masterpiece that only a few of us played through… legally. And moreover, fans of the game no longer have to hide in the shadows to play this game.
As for the game itself… what do I even say about this game that hasn’t already been exhausted by people like the Happy Video Game Nerd, Clan of the Gray Wolf (History, Review), Nintendo 101, The Game Theorists (including this rather dark video), Starmen.net, and this guy? This is by far THE cult classic of the SNES era. There have been few other games that have brought about such spouts of joy. If there was ever a game that people truly loved, this was it.
2. Sony Spanks Microsoft at E3 Conference
Oh, this was a fun one.
Earlier in the year, Sony had revealed the existence of the PlayStation 4, their next home console, during a press conference in February. The conference left gamers with about as many questions as they had answers. While gamers started fearing the worst, Sony was biding its time in a high stakes game of business poker as they knew that Microsoft would make the next move.
Coming into E3, gamers were frightened by what Microsoft was showing. While Microsoft did show some intriguing games during their conference at E3, gamers were still looking to Sony to see what they would do. With Microsoft done making announcements, Sony was ready to reveal its hand.
With its opening shot at the Xbox One, it revealed the design of the PS4, which would be sleeker and more appealing in design (and despite being smaller, they still found a way to put the power brick inside the console). The next round of fire came from the indie section as Sony courted numerous indie titles to be published first on the console. This was a fairly big blow as the Xbox 360 was once considered a safe haven for indie developers.
And then there was the slew of amazing 3rd party titles (including the previously mentioned FF15 and KH3) that looked great — and probably will also find a way to the Xbox One, but that’s besides the point. The point is that the first hour and a half of the Sony conference was arguably the best of the exhibition. But they weren’t done yet.
The last half hour of the Sony conference was the coup de grâce of E3 2013. It started with SCEA President Jack Tretton on stage stating that the PS4 will be the exact opposite of the Xbox One in nearly every way. The response was instantaneous cheering with chants for Sony and the trending of #xboxis****ed on Twitter. And after Destiny came out and did its job of looking pretty and epic, SCE Group President Andrew House put the final nail in the coffin: The PlayStation 4, the more powerful, less restrictive of the two new consoles this year, would also be $100 less than its chief rival.
For the non-Microsoft fans and those that were scorned by Microsoft just a month before, those two hours were an absolute thing of beauty. Sony took the Xbox One around back and beat it senseless. The Microsoft contingent was in panic mode. Larry Hryb was aggressive during interviews (or maybe it was just with Angry Joe) as he defended his product. Meanwhile, former Xbox lead Don Mattrick was stammering for the rest of the week so much that he could’ve passed for Gil from The Simpsons.
And, for the uninitiated, what would’ve caused such a scenario to happen in the first place? That would be our Number 1 Gaming Moment of 2013…
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