Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop Review [Pixelkin]

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The Cooking Mama series has been around since the days of Nintendo DS and Wii. Touchscreen mobile games were burgeoning into a dominant gaming genre for many kids and adults. These days playing a game on the Nintendo 3DS that could be almost entirely replicated on a phone feels quaint.

Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop doesn’t offer enough new gameplay or progression to warrant yet another installment in the franchise.

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Birthdays the Beginning Review [Pixelkin]

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Sim games tend to either focus on realistic physics and sciences, such as Kerbal Space Program, or a more casual approach, such as Spore.

Birthdays the Beginning is a life sim and god game that successfully straddles the line between the two philosophies. It uses the real-world applications of geology, temperature, and ecosystems to craft a diorama of life. Everything is wrapped within a cute veneer of youthful colors, relaxing music, and playful designs to create an intuitive entry into learning about life’s delicate balance.

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Gaming in Education with TEALS [Pixelkin]

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Computer Science is a vastly under served industry. Given how interconnected technology has become, all industries are looking at the next generation of workers to be well versed in Computer Science and engineering.

An organization called TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) works at the high school level to provide tech-savvy volunteers, curriculum for teachers, and computer lab lesson plans. The goal is to empower teachers and schools to provide Intro level Computer Science courses to prepare young people for an increasingly tech-focused world. And they do it using video games.

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Cosmic Star Heroine Review [Pixelkin]

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We’re supposed to “reach for the moon” in our goals. That way if we fall short we’ll still land among the stars. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense given that the nearest star is several light-years farther away than our moon. But the point is sound.

Zeboyd Games’ moon is represented by classic, beloved 90s Japanese RPGs such as Chrono Trigger, Suikoden, and Phantasy Star. It’s a big reason I backed the game on Kickstarter several years ago. To take on some of the best RPGs in gaming with an indie budget and two-person development team is a daunting challenge. While Cosmic Star Heroine falls short in some ways, it still lands among the stars as one of the best games I’ve played this year.

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30 Games That Should Be on the SNES Classic Edition [Pixelkin]

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While we patiently wait for Nintendo to confirm and announce the SNES Classic Edition retro console we can have a bit of fun speculating on which games it should include.

The Super Nintendo was blessed with arguably the greatest gaming library of any console. While Mario, Zelda, and Metroid didn’t start with the SNES, it was where they became titans of the industry.

The NES Classic Edition came bundled with 30 games, most of which were published by Nintendo. Let’s decide which 30 SNES games should grace the upcoming SNES Classic.

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Mass Effect: Andromeda [Pixelkin]

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It’s been five years since the release of Mass Effect 3, and a controversy surrounding the ending that proved the passionate fanbase could turn on a dime. BioWare would infamously take this vitriolic feedback to heart, eventually releasing post-launch patches to update and tweak the ending. The ending of the trilogy is still one of the most divisive and sour notes in gaming, brought on because the Mass Effect series has become such an important cultural phenomenon for gamers.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the fangs came out for Mass Effect: Andromeda.

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Thimbleweed Park Review [Pixelkin]

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Nearly every hugely successful Kickstarter game plays on the nostalgia of gaming yesteryear. Pillars of Eternity and Baldur’s Gate. Torment: Tides of Numenera and Planescape: Torment. Yooka-Laylee and Banjo-Kazooie.

Thimbleweed Park’s campaign aimed its sights at a very distinct game style: classic LucasArts Adventures. The finished product not only succeeds at capturing the humor, gameplay, and essence from the era of Maniac Mansion and The Secret of Monkey Island, but also stands tall with adventure gaming classics as a great game in its own right.

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