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Games Inbox: What new Smash Bros. characters do you want on Switch?
Who else should be added to the new Smash Bros.?

The evening Inbox asks why publishers have got so bad at game reveals, as one reader breaks free from his Gems Of War addiction.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]

New challengers

So… the most important question facing video games today: what new characters should be added to the new Smash Bros.? That teaser at the end of the Nintendo Direct was great, and I there’s some new Nintendo characters that seem pretty obvious: Breath Of The Wild Link and Zelda, Super Mario Odyssey Mario, new pokémon, one or two ARMS characters, new Fire Emblem characters (sad not to see the new game previewed), Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and whatever other upcoming games Nintendo wants to highlight.

In terms of obscurities I’d still love to see Nell or one of the Advance Wars crew, plus Birdo, Chibi-Robo, and the return of the Ice Climbers. The most fun to speculate though is the third party characters and I hope this time they get Konami on board for Bomberman and Simon Belmont (and Snake, I guess).

Would love to see Dark Souls representation as well, and although I’ve never liked the character I imagine Crash Bandicoot is quite likely. But what does everyone else think? At this point the Switch is so popular I think they cold get just about anyone, and they’ll probably want to if they’re trying to hide the fact that it’s an ‘enhanced port’ rather than a straight sequel (which is what I suspect).

Good show

I think that was a pretty solid Nintendo Direct actually, with suitably lowered expectations there was actually quite a bit there and the ending was certainly a classic. Nintendo are really good at those CGI trailers, I don’t know why they don’t do the Mario movie themselves rather than leave it up to the hacks behind Minions. Anyway…

My guess is that Super Smash Bros. won’t be out until the autumn, when Nintendo launch their online service. Unless they’ve got something even more online-centric lined up I think Smash Bros. will be the perfect way to convince people that they will have to pay for online, and that that’s probably when the Virtual Console will show up too.

I would’ve preferred a full sequel for Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, but hopefully that will come in time. The Splatoon 2 expansion looked good too and while at first it seemed surprising that it was single-player focus I suppose that’s one way not to split the community, assuming that playing as an octoling is just a cosmetic difference.

Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes looks great, Okami HD is a good match for Switch (and I think a further hint that there might be a sequel), and Octopath Traveler looks fantastic. Bit surprised that the Black Ops 4 rumours didn’t pan out, but there’s time for that yet.

No answer

What a weird day yesterday was. I see games companies is still absolutely terrible at keeping secrets and not getting in each other ways. I remember a reader asking this before and getting in no answer: if we gamers know all this stuff is happening ahead of time, and think it weird it all gets released/announced at the same time why don’t publishers?

Shouldn’t they be better informed than us, not less? But they all bumble around like they’re the only companies in the world and then get upset when they’re not that top story. Like, the messing around with livestreams with Call Of Duty implied they knew it was a bad day to reveal anything but then went ahead and did it anyway but in a kind of half-hearted, confusing way.

I remember when the new Call Of Duty was announced live on TV in the States, now it’s a six minute welding video to reveal a logo that everyone had already seen days ago on some athletes’ hat. Where’s the showmanship is I guess what I’m saying, or the, you know, basic competence. At least the Nintendo Direct was better than expected, the Smash Bros. teaser was ace.

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

Breaking free

I have finally decided to quit playing Gems Of War. I’ve played every day since release back in November 2015. Unfortunately, the game really hooked me in and started to take over my life. It was a true addiction. I amassed an end game collection of resources and troops, enjoyed running a guild then handing it over for the last four months.

This week I went back to them for my final week playing. I logged out of the forum and deleted the bookmarks, that’s the level of addiction I had reached with the game. I’d spent enough money over mine and my fiancee’s account to get to vip6 and 5 respectively and I hate to think how much that adds up to, but I suspect it’s over £200.

The publisher got much more involved in this impressive free-to-player three-match puzzler mid-last year and unfortunately that’s where things started to go downhill.

I hate to think how many thousands of hours I’ve spent playing. At least now I can look forward to playing some other games.
Dan_ozzzy189 (PSN ID)

GC: We’re glad to hear you’ve been able to break out of the habit, well done. For those that have never heard of the game (we admit we hadn’t) it’s from the creators of Puzzle Quest.

Female representation

What with International Women’s Day having just passed, how about a Hot Topic on best female characters in video games? I can think of numerous good examples of recent years, and I’d certainly be interested to hear from female readers in the Inbox.

Is there still a long way to go in representation, or has significant progress been made in the last 10 years?

GC: That’s a pretty good idea, we’ll try it next week. We think progress has been made, but when commenting on the Sony story yesterday the first two multiformat characters to come to mind were still Lara Croft and Chun-Li. Although we’d personally vote for Chloe Price out of more recent games.

Edutainment in action

Your insistence about the cluelessness of Activision with regards to Roman numerals in the latest Call Of Duty: Black Ops announcement might be misplaced.

IIII was frequently used in preference to IV on clock and, particularly, watch faces. Differing reasons are postulated for this. Whatever the historical precedent though, it’s not entirely uninformed to use IIII.

Perhaps there is some element or mechanic/gameplay feature of time travel or time manipulation in the game, to which the usage of IIII could therefore be alluding.

That does sound more subtle and nuanced than anything I can remember of the series, but anything’s possible.

GC: Yeah, we think it’s more likely they just thought it looked cool. Apparently IIII was used originally, and then in parallel with the more familiar notation – which only became dominant in the 13th century. So that’s something we’ve learned from Call Of Duty at least.

The original monster hunter

So apparently in the Japanese Nintendo Direct they discussed Phantasy Star Online 2 Cloud outfits for Zelda: Breath Of The Wild…

I didn’t even know Phantasy Star Online 2 Cloud was a thing on Switch in Japan. Why does Sega not want to share Phantasy Star Online 2 outside of Japan anymore…?

GC: Sega hasn’t made an effort with Phantasy Star in the West for years. Although the success of Monster Hunter: World may be the best hope that they’ll have a change of heart.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

The other half

I know it’s not exactly new to shake your head in disbelief at the latest thing to come out of Donald Trump’s mouth but this new scapegoating of video games is just bizarre. Games had absolutely zero to do with the latest shooting, or any other that I can remember. It would be one thing if the shooter was obsessed with Fortnite, or whatever, but I’ve never heard any kind of suggestion that was the case.

It literally is just blaming someone else that can’t fight back (because what politician wants to stick up for video games?), while at the same time I read stories about American schools banning backpacks and children having to carry books to school in a laundry hamper!?

The country’s out of control and GC is right to point out that they’re weird love affair with guns and violence, but primal fear of sex, is unwittingly pushed onto everyone else in the games we play (and films we watch). I can only imagine how this feels for the half of America that is sensible and just as appalled at all this as anyone else. I have a bad feeling things are going to get worse before they get better though.

Inbox also-rans

Can’t wait to play Sea Of Thieves this weekend, not sure why they waited so long for an open beta – or why it’s not better promoted – but at least it’s finally happened!

Not sure if you or the viewership was already aware of this Digitiser Kickstarter? Seems to have a few backers!

This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Tom Meadows, who asks what single game have you put the most hours into?

Some games actually list the number of hours (and days) you’ve played them for, but even if you have to estimate what one would you say you’ve played the most and over what kind of time frame? How did the game hold your attention for so long and do you consider it to be your favourite video game?

Do you tend to play a small number of games for long periods of time or try to play as many as possible and never stay on one for too long? Do you think you were addicted to the game you spent the longest time on, and do you regret playing it for so long?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear twice daily, every weekday morning and afternoon. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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