It was around this time that gaming was making a huge jump into the realm of 3D. Nintendo introduced their newest console, the Nintendo 64. 3rd party developers were a little puzzled with Nintendo's decision to stick with the cartridge platform, but regardless it still was able to give us plenty of great titles.

Banjo-Tooie

Banjo-Kazooie took what Super Mario 64 built and put their own twist on it. Utilizing a 2-in-1 character design that later influenced titles like Ratchet & Clank. Rare managed to excel in giving their characters personality. Banjo-Tooie however, took everything they learned and expanded on it to make an even better game. 

Pokemon Stadium 2

Bigger and better than Pokemon Stadium, Pokemon Stadium 2 introduces the second generation Pokemon along with new gameplay modes, Mini-games, four player battles, better presentation, etc. The game is a must own on the Nintendo 64.

Super Smash Bros.

THE most important fighting game to come out since Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter II. It blindsided everyone and introduced a unique and fun battle system. HAL was able to craft a spectacular 4-player experience giving you a decent variety of choices across different Nintendo games. The stages are well crafted and the gameplay is so much fun. While the Nintendo 64 didn't have many fighting games, it definitely had one of the best.

Mario Party

The N64 is packed with party games and obviously a game with "Party" in the name is no exception. Each installment of this series on the system is fantastic and is always a great game to break out for some fun.

Paper Mario

Another genre the N64 wasn't known for, Paper Mario takes the cake for the best RPG on the system. The battle system is simple and is good for a RPG beginner but is also very effective and fun. Unlike the traditional RPG, Paper Mario is filled with Puzzles and lacks the random encounters. That alone makes it easy to pick up for any Non-RPG fan. The story is fun with some witty dialogue along with the bright and colorful graphics really makes Paper Mario stand out.

007 Goldeneye

Pierce Brosnan is the best Bond. Daniel Craig is cool and all but the Brosnan films are the best. Not only that, the games are the best too. Goldeneye 007 was another hit in Rare's long list of eventual classics. The campaign was fun, controls were great (at the time), and was graphically impressive (also at the time). The real cream of the crop here was it's multiplayer. It had a 4-Player Multiplayer which led to countless hours spent from anyone that owned it. The crazy thing though is that a few guys developed the online within a week before the deadline. The fact that they pulled that off and it was such a success shows how great Rare truly was.

Diddy Kong Racing

Most people know that Mario Kart 64 is garbage compared to Diddy Kong Racing. First off, it has a story mode. Complete with bosses and secret areas. In my opinion the tracks are miles better than anything Mario Kart had, and to top it off the music.


Yoshi's Story

One of the easiest games on the Nintendo 64. It doesn't mean it's bad though! As a matter of fact it's one of the most pleasant experiences on the system. It's pure charm and wonder all of the way through.

WWF No Mercy

Wrestling was the thing to watch when I was younger. All of my friends were into it and we would always get together to watch the PPVs. That also meant we always spent time playing wrestling games too. Whether it be on our consoles or on a friends trampoline (which led to a lot of injuries for some of us). WWF No Mercy was one of the games played most at the time and we would play all day/night. With it's sizable roster and smooth controls, the game is still easy to pick up and play even in today's standards. There's a reason why most wrestling game fans still hail this as one of the best one.

Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Highly regarded as one of the greatest games ever made, Ocarina of Time is an impressive feat to show what the Nintendo 64 was actually capable of, especially that early in the consoles life cycle. It was able to raise the bar that Super Mario 64 had set up so high. The music and atmosphere were able to set the tone perfectly for the story. The game is truly timeless thanks to the smooth battle system as well.

Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

Much darker than Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask managed to squeeze even more out of the system (with help from the expansion pack). The gameplay revolves around a three day system. As you play the days move forward and with the end of the third day the world ends, having you return to the first day. The series' trademark puzzles require you to do things on a certain day which puts a nice twist onto it. The atmosphere, plot, side quests, pretty much everything about this great is amazing. Even the people living in the world and how they react to the world ending makes the game much more fleshed out. I personally hold this a bit higher up above Ocarina of Time.

Winback

The closest Nintendo got to a Metal Gear Solid game on their console. At least until the GameCube. Winback helped influence future titles in the genre like different endings, a cover system, and a laser sight mechanic. 

Donkey Kong 64

Yet another Rare game, Donkey Kong 64 was another excellent platformer and is the pinnacle of the "collectathon" subgenre. With a World record of 1,262 collectibles, Donkey Kong 64 has a lot for you do and is a nice time sink if you like to go on the completionist route.

Conker's Bad Fur Day

Aside from Super Mario 64, Conker's Bad Fur Day is the best game on the Nintendo 64. The crude humor, solid gameplay and overall aesthetic makes this a fun experience whenever I play it. The storyline might not have been the most cohesive by any means but it still ended up captivating me. Conker also had an excellent multiplayer with a ton of different game modes. Technologically speaking I feel that Conker actually leaves most if not all N64 games in the dust. With Voice acting along with lip-syncing on top of levels of textures and impressive shadowing, Conker's Bad Fur Day is a very dynamic game and in my opinion is a game everyone should give a shot at.

Super Mario 64

This game revolutionized what 3D could do. Much like they did with Super Mario Bros. 11 years prior, Super Mario 64 was one of the first 3D games with an open world. To this day it is one of the most influential titles ever made. Koji Kondo outdid himself with the soundtrack with having each area in the game having excellent music and conveys the atmosphere perfectly. 


Honorable Mentions:

Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
Ready 2 Rumble Boxing
Hybrid Heaven
Snowboard Kids
Jet Force Gemini
Wave Race 64
Ogre Battle 64
Sin & Punishment
Gex 3
Now that the year is coming to a close and the holidays are wrapping up, I'm starting to ruminate about 2017 more than I'd like to. Ultimately, from my perspective, 2017 was a very successful year for LAN Mob as a business. We've made a lot of big steps, made some awesome connections, ran more events then I can count but most importantly we've learned a ton. However, I know better than to celebrate, the grind continues into 2018 with even more events around the corner and more pizzas in the oven, so to speak. On a more personal level, I can't help but look back on 2017 with some dissatisfaction. I'm not going to get too far into every aspect of this feeling, but in the strangest way I feel like I'm less myself lately. In the most ironic way, I used to always think New Year's resolutions were a bit silly; why put off bettering yourself/I'M PERFECT. Alas, here I am, having my epiphany at the end of the year...I guess it makes more sense now. Outside of Elementary School (We were forced to!) this is basically my first year of ever having resolutions that I'm very serious about, and publishing this blog will help keep me on track and maybe even the LAN Mob customers will be able to help me out by slapping sodas out of my hand and keeping me optimistic!




Health
I think this is a generally big resolution for people all around the world, I think everyone wants to be healthier. Eating better, exercising more and repairing my abysmal sleep schedule are good places to start for me, but I'd like to go beyond these things as well. If you spend anytime around the shop you've probably heard me complain about my bad back, which continues to be a pain...in my back.  As much as I despise physical therapy, it's probably in my best interest to return in 2018, or bite the bullet and get the fusion surgery the doctors keep recommending to me, even though I'll be out of commission for a little while. Secondly, I have three extremely persistent stomach ulcers that I've been neglecting. Treatment is pretty straight forward but my inability/unwillingness to completely adjust my diet is making the issue worse then it should be. Starting today (as I write this) I'm going to take things more seriously, especially after talking to my doctor. No more hot sauce on eggs and no more Bawls. Sigh.

Life is pain.


Optimism
In general, 2017 has been a difficult year. Probably one of my most difficult year to date, and for a lot of reasons. I used to pride myself on being a very optimistic individual but this year kind of kicked my ass and really sucked, for lack of better terms. It's hard to simply be optimistic, but I think I can make some important steps to get myself back on track. In fact, just eating healthier and getting some of my health issues under control will be an excellent place to start. I used to practice meditation regularly, which is a practice I would love to take up again, but unfortunately my current residence doesn't make it easy. I certainly don't want to be a pessimistic person, so it's definitely in my best interest to do everything in my power to get back on track and staying positive. I think 2017 was tough for a lot of people considering politics, world events, and even some pretty sad local news, it can be hard to stay above it all.



Friends/Family
This one is simple, I just want to spend more time with the people I care about. It's easy to get caught up in the day to day life, work, errands, sleep, etc and just let time slip right by. It didn't really hit me hard until I started to realize sometimes I go weeks without seeing my best friends or even days without seeing my parents. When I do manage to find the time to spend time with people, I feel like I haven't been present in mind, only in body, which is pretty lame. I'll work harder to actually spend time with the people I care about, I can't help but feel ashamed it took me this long to actively try to change it. Sometimes it's as simple as putting your phone is another room and just disconnecting for a while.

Travel
I have only left New York state once in my life, thanks to being invited to Gettysburg by Taggles and his family on a mini-vacation back in middle school. I've never really wanted to travel far (outside of desperately hoping to go to Japan someday), but this year it's happening! Come April it seems I'm heading down to Florida for some much needed unwinding, and I'll even get to see Slooze! This part isn't much of a resolution, just something that's happening, but I am resolving myself to travel more for events. I'd like to start traveling around to Injustice 2, DragonBall FighterZ and maybe even Tekken events in the area. Not only would I like to compete (especially in IJ2), but I'd like to make connections with these communities, which is always fun but also valuable to the business! I'm pretty confident in how I play Injustice 2 already, but I will have to work on Tekken (and get a copy) and play a whole bunch of DBZF, which is a resolution in itself. I hope to see any local FGC guys reading this at some locals in the future, on top of LAN Mob's Fight Nights!



Games
I feel like no matter what I'll never actually have enough time to play all the games I really want to, and that's to be expected. I guess my New Year's Resolution would just be to genuinely enjoy any and all game time I have, no matter what I play. Sometimes I feel guilty because I haven't played X or Y yet, but I think it's best to just focus on enjoying whatever I find myself playing. I REALLY look forward to playing January's amazing releases - Thanks Rob - learning Tekken and ultimately starting Nioh!...That's right, I'm going to play Nioh this year! I PROMISE.

Sometimes it's hard to admit that you need to change aspects of your life, and I suppose I have much more respect for New Year's resolutions. There's plenty more things I'd love to do/change in 2018, but I think in order for these things to come to fruition I have to tackle some of these first. Change is good, despite how difficult it can be. What are your New Year's Resolutions? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks for reading and I hope 2018 brings success and happiness for everyone. 
After thinking that 2018 will be a little lighter considering the mass amounts of great titles is a punch to the face. 2018 is starting off the gate with some top notch RPG and fighting games. Though if you aren't too heavy into the genre then January isn't going to be a great month for you.

Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition (PS4)
1/16
This new edition of SFV will include all 12 DLC characters, an arcade mode (which wasn't in the original release), along with Extra Battle Mode. Don't worry though! If you already have SFV you will get a free update with the new game modes.


Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Hacker's Memory (PS4)
1/19
The second installment in the Cyber Sleuth series, Hacker's Memory is shaping up to be a really good JRPG. With a solid looking battle system, it looks like the game will keep you entertained for the duration of the game!


Ni No Kuni II (PS4)
1/19
Level 5 and Studio Ghibli are at it again with the second installment of Ni No Kuni! If you never played the first one that's fine, you won't need to! Though I personally recommend it, the game is great. We'll see if it can recapture the magic that the first one had.


The Inpatient (PSVR)
1/23
A game that should have been released 2 months ago, The Inpatient is looking at a solid release date now. The next game from Supermassive Games (Until Dawn) is continuing the lore with this horror game that takes place in an asylum (Perhaps the one in Until Dawn?). The game is fully playable in VR too! You can never turn down a good VR Horror game.


Monster Hunter: World (PS4, XB1)

1/26
The first Monster Hunter on PlayStation since the PS2 and the first Monster Hunter on Xbox in general! Monster Hunter World has had 2 betas in the past month and so far it's looking very promising. The gameplay is excellent and the online co-op will be a ton of fun.


Dragon Ball FighterZ (PS4, XB1)
1/26
A new Dragon Ball fighter is nearly upon us, and it is really fun! From trying out the beta i found myself having a blast. I am in no way a Dragon Ball fan, but this game has me pumped for release day here at LAN Mob!


EA Sports UFC 3 Champions Edition (PS4, XB1)
1/30
The next UFC game is nearly upon us! The regular edition comes out in February, but if you're willing to cough up an extra $20 you can get the champions Edition which nets you the game 3 days early along with a bunch of extra online content! Graphically it looks a little better than the last installment but nothing too crazy.


Final Fantasy Dissidia: NT (PS4)
1/30
Finally, a console version of Dissidia! However, this one is a bit different than it's predecessors. Instead of 1v1 battles it's 3v3 battles. With Final Fantasy characters spanning from I-XV (and Tactics!) each belonging to one of four combat categories. Assassin, Marksmen, Specialists, and Vanguards. I'm very excited for this release and it's looking to be one of my only purchases this year.   

THIS GAME


Hot off the heels of H1Z1: King of the Kill EA release we've been seeing an increase in play and interest in PLAYERUNKNOWN'S Battlegrounds. The games play so similar in style and visual appearance that it's hard to tell the two apart, and for good reason with PLAYERUNKNOWN being an original contributor and Arma 2 & 3 modder. PUBG recently hit 1.0 release with a new map after an extended early access campaign.

Not long after the original release I was going through a 3 week battle of bronchitis and spent my worst days laid up in bed watching Summit1g's twitch stream, who was running up his #1 North America rank in duo play. The only good thing that came out of my bout of sickness was being able to learn the strategy used by the top player in the world for surviving in a Battlegrounds match. Once I'd recovered I bought some copies for the shop and have since tried applying what I've learned to my own play. So if you're looking for a strategy that will get you deep in every game with a chance at a win or top-5 placement, read on!


Early Game - Just Survive


At the very beginning of the game just as players are allowed to jump from the plane, if you pan your camera to the back of the plane you'll see a good 20-30 players who immediately jump out. These players generally all parachute in on the same area, ending up in fist fights or getting gunned down in the first few minutes. For a game whose sole purpose is surviving the longest this is a terrible strategy with slim odds of making it out of the first few minutes, and even if you do survive your chances of running into several heavily armed players in the first half of the game is very high. The few games you make it out geared to the teeth are not worth the many early to mid-game exits

If you wait in the plane and watch people fly out, or hit "V" to view the interior to see how many are left, you can wait it out and get down to under 20% of people left in the plane very quickly.  This greatly increases your chances of being able to loot hassle-free and get geared up early game while avoiding early combat. When you do release you can choose to head for a large city and take your chances with only 2-3 others around, or just find a small cluster of houses near a road with likely 0 competition while you gather your loot. The goal is to avoid an early exit while getting yourself amply geared for the mid game.


Mid-Game - Vehicles, Circles, and more Surviving


So you're all geared up with a backpack, some armor, at least one decent gun, ample ammo, bandages and first aid kits, hopefully a 2x or better scope (you're going to need it!) and the first circle is just starting to contract. Time for mid-game strategy!

Vehicles are sometimes necessary if you're so far away from the circle that there is just no way to make it on foot.  Motorcycles, cars or jeeps spawn near any populated area or just on the outskirts of a town. Beware that vehicles are noisy and big targets, both of which will more easily give away your position. When possible it's a much better strategy to travel on foot!

When approaching the first circle remember from which direction the plane travelled in and try to get a rough idea of which edge of the circle you're most likely to run into people, then travel to the complete opposite side.  When heading to subsequent circles, it's advantageous to approach the edges of the circle which have the smallest gaps between the white and blue edges, as you can use the blue as your back reducing the amount of area you have to scan for players.

If you happened to have a terrible time looting early game and are running around with a shotgun or pistol, it may be a better option to instead head to larger cities in search of some gunfights to gear up or take the early exit. Gearing up is a gradual curve throughout the game but you don't want to fall behind the curve heading into late game!


Late Game - Retracing Ground


The rest of the game is a practice of looting houses, scanning for enemies and retracing your steps in a spiral towards the edge of the new white circle.  When the new circle arrives you've already "cleared" an area of players, so you're going to just head back in the direction which you came in an arc towards the new circle.  This ensures you're unlikely to be attacked from behind and most of your threats are in the 150 degree cone in front of you.


Follow a pattern of retracing your steps similar to this.


This is the part of the game where you're looking to gear up through player kills. The weapon upgrades, med kits, and improved scopes you capture will all help carry you deep into the game. The later the game goes the more important the terrain around you becomes. Rocky ridges are a good cover to ambush and defend from either side, and heavy forest allows good shade cover for gunfights. While you have no control over where the circle will head next you can plan ahead based on the terrain and try to position yourself in a way to move within cover and avoid open fields. Houses, and especially houses near the edge of the new white circle, become more dangerous to enter as the game wears on. If you arrive at one early enough they may make a great spot to sit and wait for players to come in, but beware approaching a house near the edge of the circle late in the cycle!


End Game - Get Camped On


If you've followed this strategy then it's possible you've made it all the way to late game with few engagements. The end game is extremely campy with snipers abound everywhere. Stay prone and in the shade and try hard not to give away your position. The end game may take you to a forest, a town, a rocky cliff side, the middle of a field or a beach. In the end it's going to be a bloodbath and you're going to have to fight your way to the win. Those last few minutes of every game are such an adrenaline rush and always fun live or die.


Come Play With Us



We have Battlegrounds games happening all the time at the shop and would be happy to Duo or Squad with you!


We're closed today to spend some time with our families. We'll be open again Tuesday 12/26 at 12:00 noon and ready for a busy week with many Zehn Masters WANs and LANs on deck. We hope you all have a safe and happy holidays! Check out some of our holiday favorites below.




Welcome present and future Switch users! I've had mine since July 2017 and been actively looking for ways keep mine from breaking and overall pimp it out. The meat of this blog post will be about recommending accessories and such for your Switch. If I had to recommend games it would be Legend of Zelda:Breath of the Wild, Splatoon 2, Super Mario Odyssey and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 from the games I've personally played. They're hyped up for a reason but make sure to watch videos or streams of that game to make sure it's your cup of tea.

First thing's first


DO NOT BUY A THIRD PARTY DOCK. At least not right now. People have been blowing up the Nintendo Switch reddit about third party docks frying their Switch.Second, don't use alcohol wipes to clean your Switch + joy-cons. It'll strip away the protective coating.

Comfort: Pro Controller

Compared to the joy-cons, it feels like a regular controller. The controller feels as as good as the Wii-U Pro Controller, which to me was the best thing I've used in my lifetime. Like the joy-cons, the Pro Controller has HD rumble,a gyroscope and a NFC reader(used for Amiibos)! They are pricey but there are official wired Pro Controllers that are about half the cost of the wireless version. Although they do not have HD rumble, gyroscope or an NFC reader.

Safety: Screen Protector & Hard Cover Case


Image grabbed from a review on Gamestop's website
 Before I bought my Switch, I read here and there people were scratching their screens from sliding the Switch in and out of it's dock. Not a widespread issue when I checked but I bought a screen protector to be on the safe side. I found glowing reviews for this screen protector. It comes with two of them so find a buddy and share! I like the hard cover cases from RDS Industries. I'm not just saying that because they have case with Splatoon 2 artwork. The top of the case is shell-like to prevent your joy-cons from getting damaged from pressing against the inside of the case. I've been using that case since I got my Switch and I have no complaints. I'm not brave enough to test how tough the case can be but it gets the job done.

Bonus: Wireless USB Headsets!


Okay, there was a System Update in the fall that allowed you to use Wireless Headphones with your Switch. It wasn't in the patch notes people just figured it out. The thing is, you have to use Wireless Headphones that come with a USB connector. I've been using Sony Gold Headphones since that update. I don't own a pair but others have used a USB-C connector to use their Wireless Headphones while the Switch is undocked!

Found any cool add-ons or upgrades for your Switch? Let us know in the comments!


Watching Taggles recently breakthrough into Gold V in League of Legends has given me the itch to start playing again.  I’ve been an on and off Sona solo-que player for the past few years, trying ranked for the first time about a year ago and gaining a Silver 3 placement. I played a bit after my placements and felt like that was about where I was at with my current skill and knowledge of the game, and I didn’t invest much time further into it but felt I could improve myself into Gold with not too much effort.

Sage has introduced me to some awesome tools for evaluating my play including op.gg and mobalytics. With op.gg I’m learning a lot about MMR, ELO and my success & failure against different comps, while mobalytics gives me a deep analytical look at my play from multiple perspectives. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge data nerd and believer in the power of big data, so I’ve been diving deep trying to better understand my play and how I can improve myself.

An interesting concept has come up in game chat frequently of the existence of an “ELO Hell”; the idea that ones MMR has dropped so low that the players around them are an assortment of vegetables that make it very difficult to win. This is generally considered to be in the 1200-1500 MMR range for League of Legends which on a player distribution is roughly the middle 50% of players.

The existence of ELO Hell has been debated, with players struggling to move out of a rank insisting that they perform just fine when their teammates know what they’re doing. Some game developers insist this is a fictional land made up by players who aren’t willing to take a hard look at their own play and accept the fact that they make mistakes more than they’d like to admit. Let’s evaluate the League ranked system a bit to try to get at the truth of the matter.

League Ranked Matchmaking


The matchmaking system is somewhat of a hidden calculation, but let’s take a look at what we do know:

  • Every player is given an MMR ranking ELO number, and a division rank.
  • When you queue up for a ranked match you’re likely to get a mix of players in divisions both above and below your current rank. Example: a Gold player will get a mix of Silver, Gold & Platinum players, all who may be rising or falling in MMR.
  • The two teams MMR totals should average out to roughly the same level. This means sometimes you’ll technically be the worst player on your team in terms of MMR, and sometimes you’ll be the best player, and sometimes you’ll fall somewhere in the middle.
  • Autofill still happens, and players sometimes get filled into a role they’re not very good with.

That’s a lot of variability! Throw in picks and bans, first bloods, first towers, and map objectives and you can have quite the swing in experience from game to game. 

So does ELO Hell exist?


Most players insisting on the existence of ELO Hell will say the majority of their games they are playing at their best and their opponents are at their worst. Even in those games where their MMR is technically middle of the pack or even the worst, they’ll insist they’re a better player than all of their teammates. They explain because they’re constantly stuck with poorer players, they’ll always be losing and hard stuck in their rank.

I believe this way of thinking is rooted in people's unwillingness to take a hard look inwards at their own play. Being able to blame ones problems on the world around them is a bit of a scapegoat approach and a defense mechanism to protect us from the truth: we are not as good as we would like to believe we are. Looking outwards instead of inwards is a wrong way of thinking and approaching the game, and this truth carries all the way up to challenger rank, and probably goes triple as it relates to solo-queue.  At the end of the day we’re only in control of our own play and decision making, and that focus inwards on our own play and improving is truly our only path forward. But believing in an ELO Hell is the opposite of that: it’s blaming our losing games completely on teammates and taking no responsibility for - or learning from - the mistakes we make every game.

Consider this: two players at Gold and Bronze respectively. Both are stuck and struggling at the area they’re at. If we give the Gold player the Bronze account and have them play ranked, the account will no doubt shoot up in rank to mid-Silver in no time. Similarly if you give the Gold account to a Platinum or Diamond player you’ll see immediate gains. Why is this? It’s because the truth of the matter is: we are exactly where we should be in ELO rankings given our current skill and understanding of the game, and the only way to gain rank is to improve ourselves.

Coaching


We’re experimenting with a coaching service around the shop - talk to myself or Sage about what our program involves. As for myself I’ve been spending a lot of time watching my own replays and studying mobalytics, as well as going to Sage or Slooze with concepts and ideas I’m trying to improve on. There is absolutely value in having another set of eyes (or multiple sets of eyes!) into your play.
We've finally made it! We're down to my top 5 games of 2017! To anyone who's already read part 1 and part 2, I appreciate you sticking with the series. As I mentioned, this list was so difficult to put together because there was so many great games this year. I even put together another blog post of the games I wish I was able to play this year but never got to, so check that out if you haven't. Without further ado, here we go - My Top 5 Games of 2017!


5 - Nier: Automata


Nier: Automata is a relatively difficult game to discuss because there's really nothing "traditional" about it, and you certainly can't really compare it to anything else. Such is the magic of Yoko Taro, the game's creator. Nier's gameplay is fast paced eye candy, and watching the likes of 2B and 9S dash around swinging massive weapons and fighting monumental enemies is enjoyable enough. The real appeal of Nier is the incredibly powerful narrative that presents some seriously existential concepts and creates this impressively immersive atmosphere. The game requires a certain amount of patience to get through...multiple times, but I guarantee every minute is worth it.


4 - Injustice 2


I've written about Injustice all year, but I'm happy to reiterate - I LOVE this game. I'm the type of person that can get pretty wrapped up in a fighting game, but Injustice 2 has captivated me unlike any fighter before it. I love the roster, the gear system, the plethora of game modes and most importantly how the game feels and looks. Even if it's against a computer I get excited loading into each and every match thanks to NetherRealm's presentation. Whenever I start to burn out a little bit a new character releases or I rediscover an existing hero/villain and I'm back in it all over again. I think Injustice 2 has the unique ability to be playable by anyone and everyone and the roster helps get new players hyped. My one and only complaint about NetherRealm's creation is the legendary multiverses, and how unfair the requirements are to individuals who like to play the entire cast, I feel like it was a massive oversight. Alas, it won't stop me from playing the best fighting game I've played in quite a while.  


3 - Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

I don't think anyone is surprised to see this title in my top 5, if anything some people may wonder why it isn't even higher. Not only did Breath of the Wild win Game of the Year at the official TGAs, it won GOTY for Ign, Polygon and Gamespot. I think Nintendo's fresh take on such a legendary and classic series was incredibly bold, and they certainly deserve these awards. Breath of the Wild is a very easy game to lose yourself in, both in mind and body; I once played it for 9 hours straight on accident! Nintendo had an impressively strong showing this year with Zelda at the helm, and I cannot wait to see what's next. 


2 - Divinity: Original Sin 2

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is certainly something special. The game is designed like a modern day take on classic RPGs such as Baldur's Gate, and is by far the strongest kickstarted RPG I've ever played. The game is absolutely massive, which is impressive in its own right, but the way you can interact with said world is what blows my mind. Players have a choice of race and starting class, but can continue to customize their characters as they see fit throughout the 100+ hour campaign. Start off as a warrior but want to dabble in some necromancy later? THAT'S FINE. I had the distinct pleasure of playing the entire campaign from start to finish with some of my best friends, which made the experience ever better. Recently "open world" games have the unfortunate tendency to be bloated and filled with false depth, but that definitely does not describe Devinity; I think what Larian has created should go down in history as one of the greatest RPGs of all time.


1 - Persona 5

It's funny that the first description of Persona 5 that comes to my mind is "life consuming" and "sleep deprivation" but I suppose that's not really fair. Persona 5 is (obviously) the fifth installment in Atlus' long running Persona series, which is part of a much larger franchise known as "Shin Megami Tensei". Whether or not you've played the other games in the series/franchise is honestly not important when it comes to P5, but I will say it feels like every game up until now was simply a learning experience for Atlus. Persona 5 feels like the culmination of everything Atlus has shown us in the past, which has led to one of the best JRPGs I've ever played in my entire life. The game is generally described as "high school sim" meets dungeon crawling, which is a pretty basic description but is not entirely incorrect, but the final product is greater then the sum of its parts. The time you spend on "high school" things such as part time jobs, studying and spending time with friends directly effects your effectiveness in the dungeons and provide an excellent reprieve from the tactical combat. The narrative is top of its class and kept me intrigued and completely invested from start to finish, thanks to the developed and fleshed out characters (both allies and enemies alike). While some people may think P5 isn't their style, I would still recommend the game to anyone, it has something for everyone. In fact, P5 almost makes me kind of sad; I'm worried no JRPG will ever be able to stand up to it, or at least in the same way.    

As I mentioned in Part 1 of my 25 Games of the Year blog post, there was plenty of games that I couldn't put in this year's 25 simply because I didn't get to play them yet. My original plan was to include the list in Part 3 (Top 5 Games) but decided to branch off and make a post separately because these games probably deserve it! I certainly plan on playing these games eventually, but it felt like an injustice to not mention them in the Top 25, just because I wasn't able to play them (or at least in length). There's obviously even more games too, alas, I am only one man.


Golf Story

Not every game on this list is a multi million dollar GOTY contender, in fact Golf Story is quite the opposite. Golf Story is the debut indie title from a tiny studio called "Sidebar Games", and is best described as a "golfing RPG". Thanks to Enrique I've had a chance to get a few hours in to the game, and I genuinely enjoyed the game for what it was, and I'm certainly not alone. The game earned itself a nomination for "best debut indie title" at this year's TGAs, and while they didn't take home the prize, the nomination is a pretty fantastic way to debut as a studio. I'm considering picking up a Switch someday, and if I do Golf Story will be one of the first games I grab, but in the meantime I'll just keep stealing Enrique's!


Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a game that I tried to pretend I wasn't ecstatic for because, once again, I'm lacking a Nintendo Switch. However, once again, Enrique is MVP let me borrow his and I got about 5 hours in. I think Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has the potential to break my Top 10 of 2017, but I wasn't able to get more time into it. I absolutely LOVED the early parts of the game, and ironically enough I think it really sets you up to keep you interested and invested in the mysterious world it masterfully creates right out of the gate. I really hope to get back to this one relatively soon, it really has captured my interest.


Cladun Returns: This is Sengoku!

Back in 2010 my PSP came with me everywhere I went, and one of the games that was always loaded up was a game called "Cladun: This is an RPG". Cladun Returns: This is Sengoku! is a sequel to the very unique and niche title, but with a heavy feudal Japan theme. I guess the series is best compared to old-school Zelda, but it does plenty to stand out as it's own game, like pixel perfect customization and pretty brutal difficulty. I'm happy to say I own the game, but unfortunately I haven't even opened it just yet, but I'm looking forward to it.


God Wars: Future Past


I promise this list isn't ALL RPGs, but here's another one. Grid based tactical RPGs are a huge weakness of mine, and honestly that's pretty much all I know about this game - It's a tactical RPG developed by the studio behind Natural Doctrine. This wild card is also siting completely unopened on the shelf of shame, but I have a feeling when I get to it I'll really enjoy it; it looks like the kind of game I get pretty into.


Prey

Hey look, it's not an RPG! I actually rented Prey on day one, and only played for a few hours. Despite only getting a few hours in I found the narrative interesting and the gameplay solid, but it unfortunately got drowned out by the billion other games of 2017. I just bought Prey recebtly and that's solely due to Dictator, and his Top 5 Games of 2017 post. After reading the post I decided Prey should move way up on my list of priorities, and I look forward to delving in.


Super Mario Odyssey

*sigh* We have Super Mario Odyssey right in the shop, and it's very rare a day passes where it doesn't see some play. Players of all ages have rolled through the shop to tackle what many media outlets are calling "the best Mario game since 64", and they all have one thing in common - they freakin' love it. At this point I feel like it's my responsibility as a fan of video games in general to just put in the time and hang around the shop and play it, but I just haven't gotten to yet. A lot of people joke that Nintendo fought against themselves for GOTY, with Odyssey being the runner up to BOTW. It absolutely looks like something special.


Nioh

This one really stings. There isn't a single doubt in my mind that Nioh is a game that would be very high up in my Top 25, but it sits on the Shelf of Shame unopened. However, I have experienced Nioh here and there - I participated in every single beta that Team Ninja released, I've watched good friends play and caught a few streams. One of my good friends makes a very specific point to tease me whenever the game gets mentioned, and he's certainly right, I really REALLY need to play Nioh soon. I know I'm going to love it.


Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV

What the hell is wrong with me!? I still haven't been able to play Monster of the Deep. It haunts me so. It's just a matter of time until I sit down, buy the game and play it in copious amounts at LAN Mob since I don't own my own PSVR. GOTY?

That pretty much covers it, but of course there are a TON more games of 2017, and I'm sure I'\d love a lot of them. To anyone following the end of year series up to now, thanks so much for reading and I really look forward to revealing my Top 5 Games of 2017 next time. Are there any games you think I may have missed that you'd recommend? By all means let me know! I'm all about inflating my backlog even more. I'm so good at it.
We've reached the halfway point of the Zehn Masters series, with 10 LANs done and 10 left to go! This past weekend saw the first of the national WAN events with over $3,000 in prizes being awarded to teams across the US. If you missed any of the action we have all the details below!

Jerseys Are Here

Thanks to local screen printer Nesbow Graphics the first of our jerseys arrived. These are black & red and feature the Rome Revolution eSports logo on the front, player name on the back, and a list of sponsors for the Zehn Masters series. We've given out several dozen to date and have a second batch arriving soon for recent events including CoD, CSGO, & NBA2K.




If you haven't been able to compete but still would like to own a jersey and support one of the winning players, all sponsored jerseys will be up on our online store later this week for purchase, and a royalty will be paid to any player whose jersey you purchase.

Friday Fighters

Friday night featured the first Tekken 7 LAN event with Tony "ZTS" Filosi winning. Tony has been playing competitive Tekken for over 10 years and is regarded as one of the top players in New York State. His favorite character is Lee but played Claudio and Geese for the W. He most recently won Wizard World Minneapolis 2016. Tony is a film student at Syracuse University and is currently directing an action drama for his senior project which he describes as "Victorian horror meets small town America". Tony is unfortunately unable to make the WAN event in January and that entry will be passed on to 2nd place winner Jeremy "Ladon" Lince.



A little later on Friday night saw the kick off of our first national WAN event, with Ladon facing off in Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite. This was a $500 national event and Jeremy was pumped for the event, tearing through to a 2-0 lead in Winner's Finals before his opponent brought it back 3-2 to knock Ladon into Loser's Finals. Loser's Finals became a frustrating time, and it's unfortunate that this had to happen in the first national event, but our fears of running a fighting game tournament online came true. Fighting game tournaments typically take place offline at LANs and other shops due to the requirement of having excellent connections between peers online, otherwise combos may drop making for a poor experience. In loser's finals Ladon was frustrated with his combos dropping and felt there was a serious connection issue with the other center. It was later found out that the opposing center was participating using a Wifi connection, which was only discovered in a pause during the reset of grand finals. This went late into the night and generated a lot of discussion between the players and the centers regarding rules & standards.

I feel like we owe Ladon an apology for not providing the best conditions for him to compete. Granted the actual problem was at another center and out of our hands (a theme that repeated throughout the weekend), but as an owner I need to step up my vigilance and be more vocal at the other centers when problems arise. This conversation is already happening between centers now and there is a lot of discussion about where we need to set the bar as a group of participating LANs. We're a tiny center in comparison and I'm a little surprised that with our limited resources we're doing a much better job organizing than a handful of other larger centers, but perhaps that's a testament to the hundreds of tournaments we've run at LAN Mob. To be fair most of the centers pulled off the WAN without a glitch, and I have faith that the few centers that had problems can pull their acts together and step it up as we move forward. Specifically with the WAN fighter events coming up I'm going to pursue what steps can be made for a better next experience - from "qualifying" or testing center connections, to new rules in place for when bad connections pop up.

Saturday Overwatch




Saturday saw Team 315 competing in the Overwatch 6v6 $2,000 national event. I've used the analogy before that skill levels in competitive gaming is a bit like peeling an onion, with dozens of layers the further you peel into it. I've witnessed and lived this in our Smash events, and believe heading into this series that our best players are heading into a whole new world of competition in these nationals. The Project Bastion team had a scrimmage with Team 315 before the event, and the comment was made by one of the Bastion team members that the skill gap between them was perhaps too much. This repeated itself in the WAN event, as Team 315 had a humbling experience in the tournament. It's sometimes difficult when faced with such a gap to have a take away, but this is a positive thing as the only way to get better and improve at our games is to face the best and learn from it. In the same way we've seen Draxsel grow from the majors he's attended, and to a similar extent Supernova coming off the League WAN, we're hoping to see the same kind of growth with our teams entering the nationals.

This tournament again experienced delays, with I believe two or three centers either missing players or having major network issues. Our players lost their first match and awaited patiently in loser's bracket to eventually meet a team of 4,000+ SR players - Grand Master level or top 1% of Overwatch players. This was the eventual second place team in the tournament, which is a terrifying thought what the first place team consisted of! I talked a little bit with Team 315 after the tournament and am hopeful they picked up a few things from the experience.

Sunday CS: Go & Rocket League

Sunday featured the first Rocket League WAN event with Twitch & Dickie from Team 315 representing Rome Revolution eSports. They had a rough day, dropping the tournament 0-2 and admitting they hadn't put too much practice into Rocket League. We captured the footage offline and will share some clips & highlights with everyone later this week! That officially puts Rome Revolution eSports at 0-3 for the WAN events, although we almost want to add an asterisk for the MVCI event! As I said above this is a good learning experience, and we're taking our knocks but will hopefully grow from this.

Our major event Sunday was Counter Strike: Global Offensive LAN qualifier. We had three teams participating including Lemonade, Onliners & The Chill. This tournament ran way longer than I anticipated, with multiple matches going the full 30 rounds or close to it, and a bracket reset in grand finals. We started around 1 PM and were playing still after midnight.

CS:Go is an event we haven't run a tournament for recently and we ran into a problem at one point when the tied match didn't automatically go into overtime, causing some minor delays for the players who were patient with us while we reached an agreement - thank you to the players for helping us move the tournament along! We were able to figure out some commands which should allow the next one to move more quickly (like skipping the warmup!).

Congratulations to team The Chill for bringing it back in Grand Finals to defeat Onliners. The team consists of Joey "Joey4K" Reno, Mack "Cabbage" Kenyon, Jason "JSN" Crumb, Logan "Riddance" Strebing and Alex "awfl" Feliu. They all win Rome Revolution eSports jerseys and qualify to the January 7th $1500 CS:Go national event, where they will no doubt face some of the best teams in the US.




Coming Up: MVCI qualifier, Madden & League of Legends Nationals


This weekend will have an MVCI qualifier at 7 PM  Friday night, as well as On_Fire9 entering the Madden national event kicking off at 9 pm. Saturday will see Supernova entering the $1500 League of Legends national. We'll be streaming online so be sure to tune in: twitch.tv/lanmob
Like I've said before, this year has been one the strongest gaming years since '97-'98. This year alone we have seen so many potential GOTY contenders it has been surreal. From indie hits like PUBG to AAA titles like Horizon Zero Dawn, it has been nearly exhausting. There have been plenty of game I have purchased only to either return, sell, or just not play them. Mostly due to the intense amount of time I would have to put into them. I wish I could make this list longer but due to the fact that I played only a mere fraction of games this year, this'll have to do.

Persona 5

Best RPG of the year hands down. Everything about this game is incredible. The art style, music, characters, voice acting, battle system, all of it. I still have yet to beat it but whenever I have the time to sit down and play it I easily sink hours into it.

Yakuza 0

It took me 10 months to get through it but it was an amazing experience. With the serious story and the mostly hilarious and awkward sidestories, Yakuza completely won me over. The variation of the beat 'em up style combat and varying amount of enemies left me having fun with every fight and never getting bored. With it being my first attempt at the series it was a great way to start considering that Sega is looking to remaster all the previous titles while Yakuza 6 is looking at a March 2018 release.

Resident Evil 7

After what many fans of the franchise consider a disaster, Resident Evil 7 brought something to the table that any people thought was lost. Horror. The First person gameplay was mixed at first with people instantly going for the throat that they were copying P.T. (Silent Hills). To me, they succeeded in making first person work. The game is incredible and is always tense. Though playing it in VR is the true way of playing it. After trying it on PSVR I couldn't play the game without it on. It was incredibly well done and I was constantly on edge and never wanted to look around in fear of what could've been near me. The story was very well done as well. The additional DLC they released over time were a great deal of fun as well. I'm looking forward to where the series goes next.

Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy

Crash Bandicoot is one of my favorite games on the PlayStation 1. So hearing about the remake had me extremely excited. Needless to say I wasn't disappointed in the slightest. Vicarious Visions did an excellent job at the task Activision gave to them and they both proved that Crash still has some life in him. With it being one of the top selling games of the year it's hard for anyone to ignore the fact that people want him back in the spotlight.

Cuphead

I feel that Studio MDHR has made one of the best and unique games of the past decade. There are truly no games like this. Gameplay wise it is pretty simple with it's trial and error style of levels and boss fights. But each of them are so incredibly well detailed you can't ignore the hard work and love that went into this project. It's truly a must play and if you don't have an Xbox One or PC, find a friend that does and play it! The Co-Op is just as good. Giving you hours of fun.

Yooka-Laylee

While it's not the greatest game it was still a great throwback. Playtonic Games got the job done with recapturing some of the magic from their heyday as former Rare employees. Though there were some clear flaws within the game I was still left more than satisfied with my purchase of it. The characters were cool and the music was great (You can't go wrong with Grant Kirkhope & David Wise). Yooka and Laylee were a bit meh design wise though. Laylee was filled with life but I felt Yooka was a bit bland. It could have something to do with the design of him though.

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