Review: Final Fantasy XV

Developer: Square Enix | Year: 2016 | List Price: $34.99 | Buy from Amazon

Final Fantasy XV, the latest instalment in the long-running Final Fantasy series of role-playing games, is a game that has been in development in some form or another since 2006, a whopping ten years before its final release in 2016. I’m a huge fan of Final Fantasy, having played most of the other mainline titles in the franchise, so I was excited to see the newest developments in the series, but I had definite reservations about the direction Square Enix decided to take in this instalment. Having now finished the main story, I can tell you that Final Fantasy XV is, at once, one of the most wonderful and one of the most frustrating experiences in recent memory.
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Review: SNES Classic Mini (EU Version)

Nintendo’s second throwback console features the best of the 16-bit era while improving on some of its predecessor’s shortcomings.

Manufacturer: Nintendo | Year: 2017 | Price: $79.99 | Buy from Amazon

I got the NES Classic earlier this year and thoroughly enjoyed discovering classic games I’d never got a chance to try. But all but a couple of those games haven’t aged so well, and it was more of a historical time-capsule than a legitimate console you’d recommend to you friends. The Super Nintendo era is different. There’s a reason many modern indie games like Stardew Valley and Undertale find widespread success emulating the 16-bit style. The early nineties were a time when home video games started to distance itself from the arcade as a separate, valid entity, and as a result many of these games are lengthy, rich experiences.
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Review: Conklin Duragraph

Manufacturer: Conklin | List Price: $55.00 | Buy from Amazon

Conklin is one of the oldest manufacturers of fountain pens in the United States, having started producing fountain pens in 1898. However, in 1955, when ballpoints had largely replaced fountain pens in widespread use, the company ceased operation. The Conklin name was revived in 2000, and in 2009 the brand and designs were purchased by Yafa Companies, who continue to make pens bearing the Conklin name.
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Review: Persona 5

Developer: Atlus | Year: 2017 | Price: $59.99 | Buy from Amazon

The Persona series of Japanese role-playing games started in 1996 when Revelations: Persona was released for the PlayStation. Persona is a spin-off of the larger Megami Tensei series, whose games are often set in the present-day and feature darker themes. Persona was a pretty standard dungeon-crawler, and the well-loved Persona 2 duology was pretty similar gameplay-wise, but starting with Persona 3, released in 2006 for the PlayStation 2, the series started to incorporate certain visual novel elements, allowing the player to alternate between a high-school life simulator by day and dungeon crawler to monsters at night.

Note: This review contains early-game story spoilers as well as details of various gameplay mechanics. 
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A Year in Reflection (GOTY 2016)

It’s that time of the year again, the season of exchanging presents and spending time with family. With school out, it’s a wonderful time to catch up on some of the best games of the year. You might notice that I haven’t really been keeping up with updating the site in recent months. I’ve been pretty busy with training (I’m still serving in the Singapore Armed Forces) so I haven’t gotten much time to play. In 2015 I beat a whopping 34 games whereas in 2016 I only beat six: Three Fourths Home, Her Story, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, Valkyria Chronicles Remastered, Dark Souls III, and Life Is Strange. Before I talk about Kantaloupe’s Game of the Year 2016, I want to give a couple honourable mentions.
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