Jordan Stratton or something you find in dirty diaper. We aren't sure.

Jordan Stratton

Jordan is one of those guys in his 30s who went to school for a really long time but still has no idea what he wants to do when he grows up. He eats an unhealthy amount of cereal, spends an irrational amount of time on the internet, and would be delighted if you followed him on Twitter.

Bryce Dallas Howard Talks The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda’s Soup [WATCH]

(Disney)

We recently sat down with Bryce Dallas Howard to chat about her new documentary, Dads—a film that highlights the joys and challenges of parenting through the eyes of six extraordinary fathers from across the globe as well as input from choice celebrity fathers.

It was Howard’s feature-length documentary directorial debut, but that doesn’t mean she is unfamiliar with sitting in the director’s chair. She also directed an episode of the wickedly popular Disney+ series, The Mandalorian – specifically, Chapter 4: Sanctuary.

Since dads (and plenty of non-dads) tend to be rather passionate about the galaxy far, far away, we didn’t feel right ending this interview without getting the inside scoop on her episode, Baby Yoda’s mysterious identity, and how it feels to be responsible for one of the most popular memes of 2019.

(Disney)

“I think it’s probably Baby Yoda who’s more responsible for that,” Howard corrected, humbly giving credit where it’s due. “Jon [Favreau] just really encouraged me to push the puppet and to see what the puppet could do and to have fun with Baby Yoda.”

Baby Yoda (aka, “The Child” to you sticklers out there) is one of the most popular characters from The Mandalorian and pop culture in general, and as it turns out, the showrunners totally anticipated that.

“Oh yeah, it matters where Baby Yoda is,” Howard remembers saying on set, anticipating audiences’ fascination with the pint-sized alien. “We can’t not have baby Yoda on camera and just assume people are going to be okay with that.”

“[Jon Favreau] is an improv guy,” she elaborated, describing how the famous soup scene came to be. “So he’s like, ‘What if Baby was there? What if Baby was drinking something? What if Baby took like a big, long sip?’ And then he’s like, ‘Do it with one hand, do it with two hands, do it…’ Just do it this way, that way.”

So, yes. That means, somewhere at Lucasfilm studios, there is an archive of dozens—if not hundreds—of clips of Baby Yoda sipping soup, each probably more adorable than the last. In fact, by taking that time to get the perfect shot, Howard set a new Star Wars record.

“Apparently, on my episode, there was a day where I shot more footage than any other film that Lucasfilm has ever done. There was one day on Rogue One with four units that came close. So there’s a lot of excess Baby Yoda footage.”

Howard claims she knows the mysterious green toddler’s identity, but when pressed, was less than forthcoming.

“Nope. I vowed that I was never going to use the name because if I use the name once on set, I would accidentally say it… Baby is ‘Baby.’ Baby is ‘Baby.'”

Looks like we’ll have to wait a few months for Season 2 of The Mandalorian just like everyone else before we get some answers.

You can watch our full Mandalorian interview with Bryce Dallas Howard below or check out the rest of our interview on fatherhood and Dads here.

The Dad Of The Month, June 2020: Bryan Piatt

((Photos courtesy of Jessica Piatt))

We are honored to announce The Dad of the Month for June, 2020: Bryan Piatt. Bryan is a relentlessly hard worker and an all-star father and husband, even with a 4-year-old son who requires specialized medical care. His wife, Jessica, couldn’t help raving about him in her submission:

“Bryan is the most amazing dad. Our first baby was unplanned, but he was so excited to find out he was gonna be a dad. When he was born, we knew immediately something wasn’t right. Our son Nolan has gone on to be diagnosed with an incredibly rare chromosome disorder (very few in the world have it!), and in Nolan’s short 4 years, he’s had 4 surgeries, many ER trips, countless tests, procedures, and therapies. He’s significantly mentally impaired, so he relies on us for everything.

“Bryan has been there every step of the way, to every surgery, to most therapies, and is the sole reason Nolan learned to walk. He worked with him tirelessly. He was amazing with my post-partum depression, very encouraging, and helpful. Never judging. And all through this, he works third shifts in a factory, which is hard on his body.

“We had a second baby (no big health issues with this little boy, who we named Dallas), and he’s been just as involved with him. He gets very little sleep to make sure he gets to see the boys (and me!) before we leave for the day. We are so so fortunate for Bryan, and I couldn’t imagine living this life with someone else. Nolan and Dallas are so, so lucky.

To honor Bryan and his tireless commitment to his family in the face of such adversity, we’re giving him $500 and some special edition dad gear. Bryan’s steadfastness and refusal to let a medical condition steal their family’s joy is something we all hope we would exhibit. Cheers!

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life.

The 10 Best Sega Genesis Video Games of All Time

The 10 Best Sega Genesis Games
(Sega)

The Sega Genesis was one of the definitive video game consoles of the ’90s and primary competition to the powerhouse that was Nintendo. At the time of its American release in 1989, it boasted incredible performance over the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and wowed gamers with eye-popping colors and giant detailed sprites. Even after Nintendo released the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in 1991, Sega went on an absolute advertising offensive, bragging that “Sega does what Nintendon’t.”

With hundreds of games in its library, there were plenty of amazing titles to choose from – some standalone stars and others that built game franchises still popular today. So we’re diving into our nostalgia-ridden minds to reminisce about the best games Sega had to offer in this 16-bit era and highlight the absolute cream of the crop. Even when considering only Genesis exclusives (sorry, Mortal Kombat 2, and NBA Jam), it’s painful to narrow the list down to a mere 10, but dammit, we’re going to do it.

First things first though, you’ll probably need a console. You can grab one on eBay, they’ve got a great selection here.

So here it is. The Dad’s Top 10 Games on the Sega Genesis (in no particular order):

Earthworm Jim

Throwing an earthworm into a super-suit to create a superhero might sound ludicrous when compared to modern-day every-actor-has-a-six-pack Marvel movies, but this is 1994 we’re talking about – weird stuff just worked. Earthworm Jim is one of many 2D platformers from the Genesis era, but it had a number of characteristics that really set it apart as something special. Sure, Jim was armed with a gun like other action heroes, but it wasn’t until players watched him grab his own head out of his suit to attack enemies like a whip or navigate around and hang from hooks that we realized this was something different.

The art direction in this game is truly stunning with animations and cartoony graphics offering incredible detail and fluidity that few others can match. The only area where Jim really struggles is in the actual gameplay department. The animations, while beautiful, make Jim’s movement and combat feel imprecise at times. Enemy hitboxes and platform edges can be frustratingly hard to pinpoint, which distracts the game’s amazing humor and art style at times, but that still didn’t stop this one from becoming one of the most iconic and easily recognizable games from the Genesis era.

Buy it here.

Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master

10 Best Sega Genesis Games

You don’t really need a lot of context for a good ninja game. Just give me some cool moves, sharp weapons, and a bunch of “evil” ninjas to fight and I’m a happy camper. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master does all three of these things just about perfectly on top of silky-smooth gameplay overall. The move set and weapon arsenal for this game are pretty standard when it comes to stereotypical ninja-ing (e.g., shurikens, a sword, flips, and kicks) but it’s when you see them chained together that you really feel like a high-flying ninja badass. Taking things a little outside the realm of reality, players also have a handful of fancy ninjitsu techniques that do serious damage to anyone on the receiving end – the most powerful arguably being a self-sacrificing explosion move that literally involves detonating your entire frickin’ body at the cost of one of your reserve lives. Hell yes, please.

On top of the great combat, Shinobi III breaks the monotony of its standard side-scrolling levels with alternate playstyle sequences like surfing and fighting on horseback, which actually work surprisingly well instead of feeling gimmicky or tacked on. Plus, the game features one of the best soundtracks on the Genesis, if not in all of gaming. It’s a masterful title that provides that full ninja experience without being too punishing (looking at you, Ninja Gaiden).

Buy it here.

Comix Zone

10 Best Sega Genesis Games

A 2D side-scroller developed by Sega in 1995, Comix Zone puts players in the shoes of a starving artist (appropriately named Sketch Turner) who gets thrown into the pages of his own comic book by one of his own villainous creations. Armed with his fists, glorious ponytail, and extremely ’90s wardrobe, Sketch battles his way through an army of illustrated baddies while flipping through the panels and pages of an actual comic book. Yup, if you ever got in trouble for doodling in school, this is the game for you.

Even though the idea of seeing your drawings come to life is inherently fun as hell, Comix Zone can be brutally difficult at times. Barring a few rare occasions, there are no extra lives or 1-ups in this game. If you mistime a jump and fall into a pit or your health bar drains to zero, it’s game over. Title screen. Oh, and on top of it all, your health constantly depletes as you progress through the game. Yup, since Sketch is comprised of paper, doing damage to enemies and the environment (who also live on said paper) results in taking damage yourself. Not the most enjoyable game mechanic, but it doesn’t stop Comix Zone from being one of the most unique and visually appealing titles on the platform.

Buy it here.

Vectorman

10 Best Sega Genesis Games

Released in October 1995, Vectorman was an attempt to extend the lifespan and relevance of the Genesis, and thanks to its stunning visuals and non-stop explosive action, it worked. Like Donkey Kong Country a year prior on the SNES, Vectorman featured revolutionary graphics for its time. The titular hero alone is comprised of 23 individual sprites moving in tandem, which are also individually affected by nearby light sources – really cool, even by today’s standards. The stunning visuals are achieved largely in part to some clever design fakery rather than some previously hidden horsepower under the Genesis hood, but the results are still undeniable.

As for gameplay, it’s a novel game but there are probably better run-and-gun titles. The enemies are a bit generic and not the most exciting to fight and bosses tend to be big, boring bullet sponges. Also, while Vectorman is fun to look at, his movement feels a little slippery and may take some getting used to. Once you get over the initial hump, though, you’ll be running, gunning, and rocket boost jumping all over the place. Vectorman is not an easy title, though. Sure, you can tone down the difficulty settings or use cheat codes to give yourself a handicap, but the game makes sure you don’t forget it by either restricting the true ending of the game or, even worse, calling you “lame.” Harsh.

Buy it here.

Strider

10 Best Sega Genesis Games

One of the earliest hits for Genesis, Strider was released in the pre-Sonic days when a huge selling point of the console was its ability to house perfect ports of arcade games. It was the title that made your NES-owning friends green with envy, and for good reason. With its explosive colors and character animations, the game looks fantastic even when compared to games that came out years later. Sure, the NES had its own version of Strider, but it was a completely different title – only loosely based on the coin-operated version in the arcade and nothing close to this beauty on Genesis.

The game follows the exploits of Strider Hiryu as he flips and slashes his way through a futuristic version of Soviet Russia (not quite as topical nowadays, but this is 1989 we’re talking about). Hiryu is armed only with a sword that can be upgraded via power-up and, occasionally, a tiny drone that takes potshots at enemies from a distance. What really sets Hiryu apart, though, are his acrobatics. He can perform mid-air flips, cling to the sides of walls, and slash at enemies in any direction. While other games from this era might give you a single attack button, Strider offers a bevy of different ways to dispatch baddies, like hanging from a ledge until an enemy turns around and then hopping up to give him a quick slash in the back. It’s all very exciting and satisfying – I just wish there was more of it. With only five levels, players can easily beat the game in less than an hour, while vets have been known to breeze through it in under 15 minutes.

Buy it here.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

10 Best Sega Genesis Games

A good sequel keeps the aspects that worked for its predecessor and then builds on top of it to offer up a fresh new experience that still remains somewhat familiar. Sonic 2 is a near-perfect example of such a formula. It takes the characters, gameplay, and overall aesthetic of the original 1991 hit and then ramps them up into something truly special. I mean, the special stages that throw Sonic into a 3D half-pipe to find chaos emeralds were enough to completely blow my childhood mind at the time.

The game remains a fast-paced side-scroller with rolling hills and colorful surroundings, but instead of a solo mission, Sonic is now accompanied by his twin-tailed fox sidekick: Miles “Tails” Prower (a total dad-level pun based on “miles per hour,” if you didn’t catch it). Sonic 2 also introduces the Blue Blur’s iconic “spin dash” for the first time, allowing players to charge up speed in place rather than needing a long runway to accelerate. These additions—along with split-screen multiplayer—made this sequel an instant hit and even more proper than its predecessor.

Buy it here.

Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium

10 Best Sega Genesis Games

The SNES might have been a powerhouse when it came to RPGs with stellar titles like Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, and Final Fantasy IV and VI, but they were missing a huge game in the all-star RPG lineup: Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium, only available on the Genesis. The universe created in the Phantasy Star series—an area of space dubbed the “Algo star system”—is rife with humans, aliens, and cyborgs, each with their own unique cultures that have been carefully developed over the course of four games and come to a satisfying climax in this fourth installment.

In true JRPG fashion, the game introduces players to new characters, teachers the general mechanics of the game, and then casually tosses in a mega-powerful villain bent on eradicating all life… pretty standard fare. The combat, while not revolutionary, includes intuitive and streamlined mechanics, like the inclusion of macros. This means you can set up systems for your entire party to execute each turn. Simply want everyone to attack? There’s a macro for that. Want one character to boost your team’s stats, three characters to attack, and then the last character to heal? That’s another macro. Where Phantasy Star IV truly shines, though, is its narrative. The game doesn’t talk down to players—characters in your party can definitely be killed permanently—and it neatly ties up loose ends from the previous games, crafting a sci-fi JRPG experience that’s truly special.

Buy it here.

Streets of Rage 2

10 Best Sega Genesis Games

What do you do when your pal gets kidnapped by a criminal mastermind? You go on a vigilante justice spree; punching, kicking and pipe-swinging your way through droves of henchmen to get him back, that’s what. Beat ’em up style games were a dime-a-dozen in the days of the Genesis, but Streets of Rage 2 stood out as one of the absolute best. On top of improved gameplay from the original SoR, the sequel also looked fantastic with colorful sprites the popped off the screen when contrasted against the grimy urban environment.

After choosing from a cast of four different characters, each with their own set of moves and combat styles, players bludgeoned their way through their crime-infested city to rescue their captured pal. And when things get tough, the adrenaline-pumping soundtrack full of killer house music will fuel you to keep fighting, just like the occasional rotisserie chicken dropped by defeated baddies. SoR2 remains not only one of the best beat ’em up titles on the Genesis, but of all time.

Buy it here.

Sonic 3 & Knuckles

10 Best Sega Genesis Games

If you don’t know any better, you might think that Sonic 3 & Knuckles is a typo, but the awkward title is actually a result of being one of the most unique games in the world. You see, Sega was so eager to get Sonic 3 on store shelves that they shipped it out only half-finished. Thankfully, they didn’t just call it a day, but rather finished the rest of the intended game, polished it up, and released it as an add-on cartridge: Sonic & Knuckles. The new “lock-on” cartridge included the standalone Sonic & Knuckles game, but if you inserted Sonic 3 into the top of Sonic & Knuckles cart, gamers had access to Sonic 3 & Knuckles – separate storylines, game options, and access to Knuckles as a playable character in all the levels from Sonic 3. Basically, a physical version of DLC.

As for gameplay, the addition of Knuckles gives the game even more depth than its predecessors. Opposed to the Blue Blur, the red Echidna can soar through the sky with his glide technique and scale walls with this signature claws. Sure, he’s fast and can keep up with Sonic as they speed through stages, but the differences are significant enough that it feels like a relatively fresh experience. This is a game where story and gameplay are both handled superbly and it’s all wrapped up in one wonderfully polished package… well, as long as you have all of the necessary cartridges.

Buy it here.

Gunstar Heroes

10 Best Sega Genesis Games

By 1993, many Genesis owners had thought they’d seen everything there was to see regarding the run-and-gun genre made popular by games like Contra and Mercs, but Gunstar Heroes unapologetically shook things up with its high octane action and stunning visual style. The cartoonish art direction is similar to that of Metal Slug and both games share a love for intense, over-the-top boss battles that conclude each level. Oh, and speaking of the Gunstar Heroes’ levels, they vary constantly, keeping players guessing and preventing the game from ever really feeling stale (something that can’t be said for many other games in this genre).

The weapon load-outs are diverse and fun to use, including a rapid-fire machine gun, a flamethrower, and a homing shot. Plus, these weapons can be mixed-and-matched to create powerful weapon combos that would usually feel overpowered if it wasn’t for the hoards of enemies constantly filling your screen. Plus, when you get tired of fighting evil robots and beefy henchmen by yourself, you can boot up co-op mode with a friend. Gunstar Heroes truly pulls out all the stops and remains one of the most creative run-and-guns you’ll ever find.

Buy it here.

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

Bryce Dallas Howard Talks ‘DADS’ and the Many Facets of Modern-Day Fatherhood

(Apple TV)

Jurassic World actor, Mandalorian director, and all-around delight of a human being, Bryce Dallas Howard, is going all out for Father’s Day this year with a love letter to dads everywhere in the form of a documentary. The feature-length film, appropriately titled, “DADS,” features several fathers from a variety of cultures and backgrounds in an attempt to answer one overarching question: What does modern-day fatherhood look like?

Howard takes a multifaceted approach in finding the answer – interviewing vibrant celebrity dads like Will Smith, Judd Apatow, and Conan O’Brien, but also following a diverse group of stay-at-home fathers who describe what it was like finding their new fatherly identities. Not afraid to get personal, Howard also interviews her own dad, Ron Howard, as well as her grandfather, Rance Howard, and younger brother, Reed Howard—the latter of whom is a brand-new father.

Clearly, this is a topic that’s right up our alley here at The Dad, so we were thrilled when Howard agreed to chat with us via Zoom about her 1-hour 20-minute documentary, which is now available globally on Apple TV+. Once again, she was willing to get personal as we discussed topics like the film’s impact on her perception of fatherhood, her relationship with her own dad, and whether or not Will Smith is actually cool. 


JORDAN: So what do you want audiences to walk away with from this film? What do you want them to have learned, to have garnered, to take away?

BRYCE: Well, I think on the simplest level, this movie is being released Father’s Day weekend—the weekend where we’re meant to celebrate and acknowledge the dads in our lives, and I would love it if this movie aided in that endeavor. So whatever that means to them—if it makes them appreciate their own father, if it makes them appreciate their partner, if it makes them feel inspired and empowered as parents themselves, or as individuals… I hope it’s positive.

Yeah. I can tell you right now that it definitely paints fatherhood in such a good light. I mean, whether it’s reflecting on your relationship with your own father, or on your relationship with your children, it really is something that you walk away feeling it’s a breath of fresh air. Dads are okay, they’re doing it as best as they can, and it’s something truly special.

They’re doing great. Thank you.

At The Dad, one of our foundational goals is to provide not only an entertaining space to share stories and to talk about fatherhood, but create this community to come together. Where people know it’s normal to be tired and scared and not really sure if you’re doing this right, because once you normalize that, then it’s like, “Oh God, I can finally breathe again. I’m not ruining my child.”

Yes. I remember after having my son… I mean, it’s ridiculous to think about this, but I was just like a handful of weeks into it, maybe a month, maybe six weeks. And I went somewhere and I was talking to a group of moms and I was so apologetic, and this mom took my hand and she’s like, “It’s a really long road. You can pace yourself. This is a long journey. You have so much time.”

You were giving yourself a report card a week into the semester. It’s like, calm down, you have plenty of tests and exams to pass, okay…

Yes, yes. And that was so comforting to me, but it took another parent giving me that perspective because how else are we supposed to have perspective?

Right. That’s a lot of what we do. We try to entertain and a lot of that is through comedy because you have to be able to laugh at yourself. You said it in an interview with CBS, you said, “Every day as a parent is a comedy.” Can you elaborate a little more on that?

I mean, it’s so absurd. Being a parent, it’s such a ridiculous thing.

Right, like, what adult is going to ask you what your third favorite jungle cat is? That’s just not going to happen. That’s not going to be a question you get at work.

[Laughing] Yeah, no, not at all. Not one tiny bit. And it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. It’s something that is like the highest stakes in the world and you have to take it so seriously, but then also it’s so funny because you’re taking it so seriously, and the whole thing is so absurd. I think that I was really influenced as a kid being around the set of Parenthood. I mean, that was me hearing the stories of my childhood. I was seven and seeing it come to life and it was through the perspective of the father and it was a comedy. And so, from the get-go, I wanted this [film] to be something with humor and heart.

Growing up, did your dad have any dad jokes or classic dad-isms that he would use as a crutch or a line that you heard all the time?

You know what? He wasn’t, believe it or not, he wasn’t that corny. My dad is so earnest. He’s not trying to crack jokes, he’s just super earnest and sweet. I mean, he’s funny, he’s got a great sense of humor. It was so funny [in the film] to hear Will Smith say that his kids think that he’s corny. You know?

Right, Will Smith is the coolest person I know of on planet Earth.

Yeah. Will Smith. He’s cool, he’s not corny. But I think it is this thing that kids see… They just see this other side of their parents. And I think because my dad has never, ever been someone who’s been cool, we just see him for who he is.

That’s every kid though. People are just like, “Oh, your dad’s cool.” And you’re like, “No, he’s not. You don’t know him like I know him.” Right?

Yeah. But it’s almost the opposite. It’s because he’s so not trying to be cool or anything like that. Like he’ll do something or say something and I’ll be like, “Pretty with it, dad. Oh, yeah, you can kick it with us. You’re good with the youngins.”

Did this whole filmmaking process inform you of anything when it comes to [your husband’s] role as a father? How do you approach that now?

Yeah, you know what I would say is that I’m probably even more protective of him now because I see how the ways in which fathers are simply not included in their children’s lives or in the endeavor of raising people. And it’s assumed that the dads are taking a back seat and that’s just not the case at all… like, at all. Not even close. And so, with Seth, if someone comes to me and doesn’t go to him, doesn’t include him, I’m offended, I’m offended for him.

I just don’t like rude assumptions about men who are remarkable. I mean, listen—he’s been on the front line of our family raising people. And so, since we started, folks have been like, “Wow,” pretty struck by Seth and what an involved parent he is. And so I’m not having to like protect him very often because everyone is like, “Oh yeah, you’re…”

He’s not a babysitter, he’s a father.

Yes, exactly! Exactly. Isn’t that so weird?

Awful, when you hear that, right?

Yeah, it’s so mean! It’s like, what do you say to the dad? Like, what?

What can you say about that evolving relationship [with your dad]? A lot of the film is looking at fathers with young children, but you’re an adult now. What does that relationship look like? Has that evolved? Does it become more of a friendship?

I would say what I have with my dad is definitely a friendship, but it’s kind of always been that way. He really treated me from a very young age, like an equal, not like from a disciplinary perspective, like, “Oh yeah, you can just do whatever you want,” but just an intellectual equal back when I was five. I think that it was because he himself was working at that age. And so he has memories of being a conscious person with responsibilities, making a living, all of that. And so it’s like he projected that onto us or saw that within us. He’s just always treated me with so much respect. And so being an adult is just a continuation of that. And I’m like a very demanding child. I call my parents, it’s too late. I call them, it’s too early. I call them multiple times a day. They’re like, “We’re busy.” They’re still very involved, both of them, so I appreciate it.

What the hell are you getting your dad for Father’s Day, besides this feature-length documentary about how great dads are?

I’m probably going to write him something. I’ll do a card, but not like a lame card, like a legit something he can keep, but…

Something he’ll probably cry over, right?

[smiling] Mayyybe.

Yeah. I mean, we’re not giant gift-givers in our family. We’re very, like, it’s the breakfast in bed thing. It’s that we get to see each other, that kind of thing.

A quality time family.

Quality time, yes.

The Top 10 Nintendo 64 Video Games of All Time

Top 10 Nintendo 64 Games
(Nintendo)

Ok, look. I hate to be the one that has to tell you this… but the Nintendo 64 came out 24 years ago. I know. Take a deep breath. Everything is going to be alright.

Yes, this ancient piece of gaming technology might be considered an antique by some, but just like the Sega Genesis – the N64 was host to a slew of incredible games that are still worth revisiting today. (Please make this pocket-sized version a reality asap!) Even if you only consider system exclusives—sorry, Tony Hawk Pro Skater—we’re left with a bevy of top-tier titles that are difficult to contain in a Top 10 – but that doesn’t mean we didn’t try.

First things first though, you’ll probably need a console. You can grab one on eBay, they’ve got a great selection here.

Here’s our list of the Top N64 games of all time (in no particular order because, damn, they’re all just so damn good).

Star Fox 64

Top 10 Nintendo 64 Games
(Nintendo)

Star Fox on the SNES might have made a name for itself as a decent third-person rail shooter but Star Fox 64 truly perfected the formula and made the franchise a household name. The game felt epic, allowing players to navigate their Arwing throughout the Lylat solar system to battle it out on fully realized planets and in massive space encounters. Each level consisted of dizzying corridors or arenas full of enemy ships only for players to be tossed into an intense climactic battle against a colorful new boss character.

Despite numerous titles in the franchise that have since been released, Star Fox 64 remains the crowning jewel to which all subsequent games are seemingly compared. Sure, it’s a little short and not the most difficult gaming experience, but the incredible charm and arcade-style scoring system have kept us coming back to battle Andross’s forces (and perform “barrel rolls”) again and again.

Buy it here.

Paper Mario

Top 10 Nintendo 64 Games
(Nintendo)

The N64 definitely wasn’t known for its RPGs but when they touted a spiritual successor to the ever-popular Super Mario RPG, it was big news. Paper Mario ditched the top-down, 3D aesthetic of its predecessor for an adorable 2D cutout version of the Mushroom Kingdom and the results are stunning. Plus, our favorite Italian plumber utilizes new paper-related abilities that remain unique to this series alone.

In true RPG fashion, Paper Mario focused just as much on its characters and environment as its combat. It brings the Mushroom Kingdom to life as a vibrant community rather than just a side-scrolling world full of Bowser’s minions and features tons of witty dialogue and a brilliant soundtrack by Yuka Tsujiyoko (of Fire Emblem fame). While not your typical Mario game, it was the perfect swansong for the N64 in 2001.

Buy it here.

Banjo-Kazooie

Top 10 Nintendo 64 Games
(Nintendo)

Describing Banjo-Kazooie to someone who’s never heard of it will make you sound like you need to be institutionalized. Yes, you’re an anthropomorphic bear. Yes, you’re also a giant bird that resides in the aforementioned bear’s backpack. Yes, you’re on a mission to take down an evil witch that literally just wants to be as hot as the bear’s sister.

Of course, as anyone who’s played it can attest, Rare’s N64 action platformer has the perfect amount of charm, humor, and floating objects to collect to make it an unforgettable treat. With a bevy of moves to learn from a large cast of memorable characters and a wide variety of expansive levels, Banjo-Kazooie not only earned a sequel that was equally as impressive but it rooted a special place in our childlike hearts forever.

Buy it here.

1080 Snowboarding

Top 10 Nintendo 64 Games
(Nintendo)

Combine a solid racing formula with the late-90s obsession with extreme sports and you get 1080 Snowboarding. It’s arguably the best sports title on the N64 (though, NFL Blitz 2000 definitely gave it a run for its money) and paved the way for every snowboarding video game you’ve ever played since.

It featured incredible graphics and physics for its time and blended racing and tricks in a natural way, not unlike the SSX series, which released a year later. Sadly, the 1080 games came to an end after a rather mediocre Gamecube sequel, but the entry title—with its bumping soundtrack and genre-defining gameplay—was anything but forgettable.

Buy it here.

Super Smash Bros

Top 10 Nintendo 64 Games
(Nintendo)

Super Smash Bros. truly came out of nowhere with Nintendo announcing the game only three months before its Japanese release, but looking back, it’s crazy that nothing like it had happened before. The game adopted a zoomed-out third-person perspective more in-line with platforming titles than traditional fighting games and forced 12 of Nintendo’s most iconic mascots to launch each other off of a stage rather than tick away at a health bar.

Critics complained that the game lacked depth and balance, disqualifying it from being considered a true fighting title, but any SSB fan knows its chaotic nature is what truly sets it apart as something special. Now, the franchise has grown into a pillar of the competitive gaming community, but there’s no way the series would be where it is today without this quirky and ridiculously fun initial title.

Buy it here.

Star Wars: Rogue Squadron

Top 10 Nintendo 64 Games
(Nintendo)

PC gamers had been familiar with high-intensity, laser-filled dog fights for a while thanks to the X-Wing and TIE Fighter flight sim series, but Rogue Squadron finally introduced console players to Star Wars aerial combat in all its glory. Sure, you could make the argument that Shadows of the Empire introduced the Star Wars piloting experience two years prior with its opening mission on Hoth, but Rogue Squadron provided the polish and depth that we craved after being teased with that initial (somewhat janky) snow level.

With 15 regular missions, each taking place on a new planet, Rogue Squadron truly gave players the experience of battling the might of the Empire from the cockpit of just about every Rebel Alliance starfighter. Add a medal system for each mission and opportunities to replay levels with different spacecraft and you’ve got one hell of a flight combat simulator. The only thing we’re really bummed about is the lack of a multiplayer mode, which would have fit into this one perfectly.

Buy it here.

Mario Kart 64

Top 10 Nintendo 64 Games
(Nintendo)

It might not have been the first Mario Kart game but Mario Kart 64 was the first to incorporate 4-player split-screen for ultimate multiplayer mayhem. The single-player experience was admittedly a little shallow but it only took one Grand Prix run or high-intensity round of battle mode with four of your buddies to make you realize that this game was truly one for the ages.

The mix polygons and sprites give the game a genuinely cartoony feel that seemed perfect for the series and the addition of the blue shell, while controversial, is noteworthy if only for the number of friendships it has ruined. It probably isn’t the best Mario Kart entry in the franchise but there’s a good chance it’s the one that holds the fondest memories.

Buy it here.

GoldenEye 007

Top 10 Nintendo 64 Games
(Nintendo)

Arguably THE multiplayer experience, GoldenEye 007 was the game responsible for the severing of friendships, broken controllers, and completely dominating our lives… and we loved it. Sure, it’s technically based on a James Bond film of the same name, but the vast majority of players remember it predominantly for its frantic and addictive split-screen multiplayer.

While PC players had been playing first-person shooters for years, GoldenEye became the definitive FPS for console gamers, and it has held a sort of legendary status ever since. The single-joystick control scheme might feel a bit wonky and dated compared to the dual-sticks of modern console shooters, but games like Halo and Call of Duty definitely wouldn’t be where they are today if GoldenEye 007 hadn’t paved the way. You could also make the argument that Rare’s Perfect Dark improved upon the mechanics and gameplay of GoldenEye, but which game gave you more memories with proximity mines? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Buy it here.

Super Mario 64

Top 10 Nintendo 64 Games
(Nintendo)

Few games, if any, made a splash in the video game community like Super Mario 64. It was the first game to feature Nintendo’s jumping mustachioed plumber in a fully 3D environment, but you’d never know it given the smooth-as-hell platforming gameplay, wide array of new jumping abilities, and diverse level designs. It was truly the perfect translation from two dimensions to three, and Shigeru Miyamoto and his team did it in one try!

There was so much to do in this game—not only in the levels themselves but in the castle overworld, too—that it’s easy to lose sight of the overarching goal (sorry, Princess). Sure, the camera can be a little finicky and graphical glitches are an occasional annoyance, but this N64 launch title is a brilliant entry in Mario’s fabled franchise and still a must-play to this day.

Buy it here.

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Top 10 Nintendo 64 Games
(Nintendo)

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time wasn’t even close to the first game in the fabled franchise but it was the first time Nintendo allowed us to take control of Link in a fully 3D rendered world, and, boy, oh boy, did they nail it. Boasting an astounding (at the time) 40 hours of gameplay across vast fields, mountains, and lakes, Ocarina of Time felt enormous and truly epic as you watched Link grow from child to adulthood, battle incredible bosses, learn magical new abilities, and time travel to finally defeat Ganon.

From the music and sound design to gameplay and cutscenes, everything in this game was top-notch and completely immersed players in its version of Hyrule. Plus, the monumental conclusion is canonically responsible for splintering the franchise into its multiple timelines, so not only is Ocarina of Time a crucial installment in the world of video games but possibly the most important entry in the entire Zelda franchise.

Buy it here.

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

The Dad Of The Month, May 2020: Andy Salamone

(Photos courtesy of Pier Reiter)

We are honored to announce The Dad of the Month for May, 2020: Andy Salamone. Andy, who lost his eyesight at an early age, is an example of a man who has beaten the odds over and over again to exemplify exceptionalism, not only in his career, but in his role as a father. His brother, Pier, bragged up-and-down about Andy in his nomination:

(Courtesy of Pier Reiter)

“Andy is my older brother. He is totally blind after losing his sight in both eyes to the cancer Retinoblastoma at the age of 3. Andy never lets anything get in his way – he was on the high school and college (division 1) wrestling teams. He took his 1st government job in Pearl Harbor—far from family and the familiarity of Pennsylvania. After that, he settled in Washington DC and is now working for Defense Intelligence Agency.

(Courtesy of Pier Reiter)

“He and his wife also have a 9-year-old boy, Michael. Andy slid into the role of ‘dad’ without missing a beat – changing diapers, giving bottles, cooking meals, etc. As the years went on and Michael grew, Andy never let his vision slow his abilities & activities as a dad. Most recently Andy has embarked on numerous Boy Scout trips with Michael that include skill activities, hiking, and overnight camping trips.

(Courtesy of Pier Reiter)

“Andy is there for Michael in every way he needs whether it’s help with homework, someone to have a lightsaber battle with, someone to construct the LEGO kits with, or just someone with whom he can be emotionally open when needed. Andy not only demonstrates all these amazing dad qualities to his own son, but to my two young daughters and our other young nephew.

(Courtesy of Pier Reiter)

“It is also worth mentioning that he is a phenomenal cook (minus the time he lit a box of cereal & his oven mitt on fire) and can still beat me in a game of HORSE in basketball. Andy has defeated the odds and overcome discrimination as a blind man and never let anything get in his way. Yet, despite his work and extracurricular accomplishments, if you ask him what his favorite and most rewarding job is, he will say being Michael’s dad.”

To honor Andy and his unwavering dedication to killing the dad game, we’re giving him $500 and some special edition dad gear. Thanks for showing us what outstanding fatherhood in the face of adversity looks like, Andy!

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life.

Best Halo Game: We Ranked Halo From Worst to First

Best Halo Games Ranked
(343 Industries / Bungie /Ensemble Studios)

I don’t mean to alarm you but the Halo franchise has been around for nearly TWO DECADES and, despite Master Chief’s line about ‘finishing the fight’ a few games back, our green armored hero doesn’t appear to be calming his trigger finger anytime soon. Halo Infinite is still set to release later this year so we thought it would be fun to revisit the action-packed series that has defined so many of our gaming experiences.

Also, to make things more interesting (and not at all controversial), we’ve ranked every major Halo title from worst to best. Yes, every entry has added a little more to the already massive Halo universe, but they aren’t all perfectly cut gems in the pantheon of gaming – some are definitely a little rougher around the edges. Did your favorite come out on top or did it take too many unsuccessful risks to truly stand out above the rest?

Halo Games in Order

11) Halo Spartan Strike

(343 Industries)

The second of two top-down twin-stick Halo shooters available on mobile platforms, Spartan Strike tosses players into the boots of an unnamed Spartan shooting it out during the attack on New Mombassa at the end of Halo 4. It ramps up the action to make up for its smaller scale by equipping players with oodles of weapons and gear right out of the gate, resulting in a one-Spartan-army the likes of which could give the Master Chief a run for his money.

It feels a lot like what Halo might have been if it was released as an arcade game back in the ’80s. The bite-sized missions are ideal for mobile platforms but it’s disappointing that it can’t be played on Xbox platforms or with friends in a co-op mode like its predecessor. Plus, with so many previously visited locales from past games, it’ll probably leave you wondering why you aren’t playing one of those titles instead.

10) Halo Spartan Assault

(343 Industries)

Another twin-stick shooter, Spartan Assault follows the battles of Spartans Edward Davis and Sarah Palmer as it attempts to bridge the gap between Halo 3 and Halo 4. Its beautifully animated cutscenes, well-produced sounds effects, and superior voice acting are definitely impressive and the option to play on the Xbox 360 or Xbox One is convenient, but the twin-stick controls remain a bit frustrating and take time to get used to. Players with a mouse and keyboard on hand can avoid a lot of headaches.

Additionally, the arcade-based scoring system, while a good idea in theory, seems to detract from the character-focused narrative that the game clearly tried to push. It’s hard to feel an emotional pull from the characters when kill streak indicators are constantly splashing across the screen. Overall, Assault is a nice fix if you’re feeling the itch to dive back into the Halo universe while on-the-go, but don’t expect to feel fully satisfied.

9) Halo Wars

(Ensemble Studios)

A Halo game without the Master Chief is odd, but when it’s not even a first-person shooter, you can’t help but wonder what Microsoft was thinking (or drinking). Halo Wars wasn’t necessarily a bad game, though. The console-based real-time strategy game features a solid story, gorgeous cutscenes, and a score by Stephen Rippy that rivals Martin O’Donnell’s incredible work from previous games. It was even developed by Ensemble Studios—the same developer behind the classic Age of Empires games—but none of this could save it from feeling a bit clunky and out-of-place when compared to the polished shooters Bungie was known for.

On the bright side, the process of building massive bases, armies, and vehicles is definitely streamlined compared to other RTS titles, making your fight against the Covenant brisk and constant rather than being bogged down by menus and other minutiae commonplace in the genre. The birds-eye view of combat simply can’t compare to adrenaline-pumping action you get while staring down the barrels of various UNSC-issued weaponry, though. Even though Halo Wars rightfully earned an ardent group of fans who appreciated its deviation from the norm, most franchise vets and seasoned RTS players couldn’t be bothered with it.

8) Halo Wars 2

(343 Industries / Creative Assembly)

Another real-time strategy Halo game? Sure. We were all craving more mediocrity. Halo Wars 2—developed by Creative Assembly after Ensemble Studios disbanded—provided additional polish and a handful of new features but, for the most part, was more of the same. At least the single-player experience offered some bold new steps narratively as players face off against a fearsome new foe, but it’s a short campaign that ends rather abruptly and on a frustrating cliffhanger.

Multiplayer offers much of the same experiences, too, but on mostly smaller maps this go-around for some reason. Thankfully, the game’s exciting new Blitz mode is a fun feature that further streamlines resource-gathering and base-building by giving players a set of cards enabling them to deploy troops and special abilities anywhere on the map. The system makes games more fast-paced and intense, distancing itself even further from the classic RTS experience but offering something new that casual and new RTS players might appreciate.

7) Halo 4

(343 Industries)

After Bungie departed Xbox Game Studios, 343 Industries was left with the daunting task of following in their massive, Master Chief-sized footsteps, so it’s no surprise that their first foray into the Halo universe wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Halo 4 isn’t necessarily a bad game; it’s a perfectly adequate shooter that’s plenty of fun to play and looks damn good despite the Xbox 360’s aging hardware. It simply didn’t live up to the Halo standards that folks knew, loved, and expected.

It features a more “human” side to John-117, delving deeper into his background and relationships than ever before but the gameplay and overall story weren’t as innovative or interesting to match. It lacked the scope and depth of titles in the previous Halo trilogy and its multiplayer seemingly took more notes from Call of Duty than any Halo installment. Overall, it’s a solid game that delivers a quality gaming experience but remains pretty lackluster when compared to the rest of the franchise.

6) Halo 5

(343 Industries)

We all had high hopes for the Xbox One’s first proper Halo game (it currently holds the record for the biggest Halo launch, after all) but it ended up feeling like the most confused entry in the series. The campaign was designed with an entire squad of online friends in mind and, as a result, is a pretty brutal grind when stuck playing with a bunch of AI Spartans. One round against the damnable Warden Eternal (a recurring mini-boss who only takes damage when you can maneuver around him and shoot him in the back) will make you understand.

To make matters worse, 343 decided to put the kibosh on one of the biggest draws to the Halo experience: couch co-op. So, even if you want to play with someone else, they’ll need their own copy of the game, Xbox One console, TV, and Xbox Live subscription to join you in the fight.

Now, despite what some pissy fanboys might say, the latest Halo entry isn’t all bad. Multiplayer introduced plenty of fun, redeeming qualities to the franchise like streamlined player movement and the sprawling action of the Warzone game mode, but it still felt a bit dated compared to other FPS titles at the time. Not to mention, you’d have to look far and wide to find a player who likes a loot box system. Here’s to hoping for a return to the series’ roots in Halo Infinite.

5) Halo 3: ODST

(Bungie)

Despite not even letting players jump into the Mjolnir armor of a Spartan, the jazzy Halo 3: ODST solidified itself as a hit with its unique noir themes, engaging storyline, and colorful cast of characters. It was the brave departure from the norm that made this massive “expansion” stand out amongst a catalog of full-length titles. Rather than playing a superpowered Spartan, ODST throws you into the boots of a UNSC shock trooper – no dual-wielding, no armor upgrades, no problem. It stripped away many of the science fiction elements of other Halo games in favor of a pretty straightforward military campaign chock-full of easter eggs for those willing to search for them.

But fear not – there’s still plenty of alien-slaughtering goodness here. In fact, ODST was our first introduction to Firefight: the single or cooperative horde mode that had players fighting wave after wave of Covenant attackers. And while ODST simply adopted Halo 3’s superb multiplayer mode, it included all of the main game’s DLC maps, making it the ideal expansion for an already incredible game.

Oh, and extra points for Nathan Fillion.

4) Halo: Combat Evolved (the best one to start with if you’re a newcomer)

(Bungie)

The FPS that defined a generation, Halo CE was a rare gem that placed as much importance on universe-building as it did game mechanics, which instantly made Microsoft’s new video game console a household name. Players were thrust headfirst into a high-octane emergency escape to a mysterious ring-world that neither you nor the characters in the game knew anything about. We were introduced to the fearsome Covenant, the zombie-like Flood, and a pistol that could probably sink an aircraft carrier, all of which made the game truly unforgettable.

Of course, it was the game’s multiplayer that gave Halo CE its longevity. It introduced countless console gamers to LAN parties for the first time, offering up matches with a then-astounding 16 players, all of whom were likely screaming obscenities across a Doritos- and Mountain Dew-filled house. Add to that the introduction of near-perfect multiplayer maps like Battle Creek, Hang Em’ High, and Blood Gulch and you’ve got yourself an instant classic that lived up to its name by evolving first-person combat as we knew it.

3) Halo: Reach

(Bungie)

Reach was Bungie’s last hurrah in the Halo realm and, boy, oh boy, did they want to leave an impression. Despite being nearly 10 years old, the game still holds up thanks to its impressive art direction and fluid gameplay. The perfectly-paced campaign stands out for being a prologue that ends in heroic tragedy rather than the standard Mjolnir-armored fist pump of victory and features a squad made up predominantly of Spartan-III’s rather than beefy Spartan-II’s like the Master Chief.

It’s a game that took major risks, many of which paid off. Spartan suit customization is taken to a whole new level and armor abilities add depth and positively affect the flow of multiplayer combat (though, armor lock users can still go straight to hell). The updated Forge mode offered players countless hours of custom map-building and the dedicated Griffball playlist is more fun than it has any right to be. Sure, players can knit-pick certain aspects like the hollow, short-lived characters and the introduction of reticle bloom but, all in all, Reach is the proper send-off from Bungie we deserved.

2) Halo 2

(Bungie)

The sequel to Halo CE that seemingly every gamer on the planet was clamoring for, Halo 2 was not only a worthy follow-up to a genre-defining FPS but truly defined the landscape of online gaming.  It was visually stunning at the time and introduced key gameplay features like dual-wielding weapons and vehicle hijacking that would become mainstays in the franchise, but the game’s linear campaign also forced us into the role of the Arbiter—a deviation that, while bold in concept, many players weren’t too excited about.

Multiplayer was Halo 2’s crowning achievement, though. Players could finally utilize the mighty power of the internet to slaughter their buddies online, and we did… for hours… sometimes avoiding less important responsibilities like school and daily hygiene to do so. How were we supposed to focus on geometry homework when we knew our friends were online, gutting each other with energy swords on Lockout?

1) Halo 3 (coincidentally, also the  best-selling Halo game)

(Bungie)

The conclusion of the original trilogy, Halo 3 took us back to Earth to “finish the fight” once and for all against the Covenant and the Flood. It not only offered classic Halo combat and gunplay polished to near perfection but also introduced 4-person co-op, which was perfect for taking on its tough-as-nails Legendary difficulty. If it didn’t include the infuriating, flood-infested “Cortana” level (which is a special kind of masochism on higher difficulties), the campaign would be damn-near perfect.

Halo 3’s multiplayer, however, needs no such caveats. This shining jewel of FPS carnage easily competes against Mario Kart and Goldeneye 007 for the best multiplayer experience of all time. Bungie’s top-notch map creators deserve all the credit for constructing some of the most engaging and memorable multiplayer experiences gamers have ever had. On top of this, developers went above and beyond to balance dual-wielding and power weapons and added diverse new items like the bubble shield and power drain, adding depth to an already premium competitive mode. Unsurprisingly, it remains the best-selling Halo title with a staggering 14.5 million copies sold, so if you want to experience Halo as it was meant to be played, look no further.

You might consider breaking up your Halo battles with some work out video games – it’s a legit way to keep your physical fitness in check in the comfort of your own home. The good news is that playing video games with your kids can be good for their health.

17-Yr-Old Refuses $8 Million Offer to Put Ads on COVID-19 Tracking Website

Avi Schiffmann COVID-19 Tracker
(ncov2019.live; LinkedIn / Avi Schiffman)

While most high school students are steadily making their way through their respective Netflix queues or playing video games during their self-isolation, one 17-year-old is managing a website that is keeping millions updated on the worldwide spread of COVID-19.

Avi Schiffmann, a high school junior from Washington state, launched ncov2019.live on December 29th, when the Coronavirus was still predominantly relegated to mainland China. The website has since garnered over 100 million visitors.

Rex Chapman shared a video from Bloomberg’s QuickTake series featuring Schiffman and his amazing efforts:

“My goal is to make the site the best place for information about the coronavirus, with multiple methods of getting data,” Schiffmann told Geekwire. “When I first started I was viewing the whole epidemic as an outsider, and I never expected it to personally affect me,” he said, adding that the growing number of cases and deaths in the Seattle area are concerning.

The site uses includes a program that scrapes a number of reputable data sites like the CDC, WHO, and BNO News and updates itself every minute.

“I am spending most of my free time working on it,” Schiffmann said. “I get about 100 emails a day for bug fixes, feature requests, that kind of thing, so I am always working on adding new things.”

Unsurprisingly, the incredible amount of traffic being directed to Schiffman’s website has attracted businesses who are hungry for fertile ad space, one offer reportedly being as high as $8 million. But Schiffman has no interest in making a fortune off this endeavor.

“I think it’s a lot easier for me to turn down things like that just because I don’t care that much about making so much money. I feel like as an adult, it’s like, ‘oh yeah, I’ll retire now,’ but I don’t want to retire at 17.”

Many have scoffed at Schiffman for turning down such outrageous offers, claiming that he’s either naive or just plain stupid, while others have applauded him for refusing to profit from the suffering of others.

“I hope that what I created inspires a lot of young people to find ways they can help,” he told Bloomberg. “I mean, this is a global pandemic that affects everybody.”

While the high schooler isn’t putting ads on his COVID-19 tracking website, he’s sharing updates and accepting donations via “cups of coffee” on Ko-Fi. He’ll definitely need it if he wants to keep running what has become one of the biggest websites in the world.

You can check out the website for yourself and stay updated here.

This Pocket-Sized Nintendo 64 is Modeled After a Game Boy Advance SP

(YouTube / GmanModz)

Considering its extensive game library and lifespan, it’s no surprise that modders have spent years trying to figure out a way to revitalize the Nintendo 64 with an updated, portable version. But past versions have always felt bulkier than any “portable” game system should be. Thankfully, the most recent attempt at a handheld N64 is likely the most compact one yet.

Modder “GmanModz” converted the guts of a Nintendo 64 to fit inside a custom 3D-printed handheld case based largely on the flip-screen design of the Gameboy Advance SP. The best part: It plays actual N64 cartridges instead of just running an emulator, which means the entire N64 library is fair game to play on the go.

The system was made possible as a result of advancements in the modding community regarding the Nintendo 64’s interface controller board. Now, in a different location and rewired to accommodate a smaller frame, the new controller board enabled GmanModz to create a slimmed-down N64 that’s easily pocket-sized (as long as you’re wearing cargo shorts, at least).

The tiny unit also rocks a pretty impressive 2.5-hour battery life – a good chunk of time to run around Peach’s castle in Super Mario 64 or gun down Russian baddies in Goldeneye 007.
While it’s unlikely that Nintendo would ever license something like this (considering their current stranglehold on the portable market with the Nintendo Switch), it’s still a fun concept that has rekindled gamers’ desire for a Nintendo 64 Classic Edition. That’s just a matter of time… right?

Levi’s and Nintendo Collaborate on Super Mario Clothing Line

Levis Collab with Nintendo
(Twitter/LEVIS)

There’s a lot of signature characteristics when it comes to Mario: That iconic mustache, his vibrant red hat, the trademark Italian accent, but probably the most timeless characteristic of the super plumber is his unforgettable overalls.

Few articles of clothing have experienced the wear and tear that these bad boys have endured, which makes sense why a company like Levi’s would try and cash in on their fame. So, get those coins ready because clothing crossovers with Nintendo don’t come around every day. And with Super Nintendo World under construction in the U S of A, these garments could come in handy.

Levi’s tweeted out a teaser for the upcoming line, cycling between the Levi’s and Super Mario logos along with a big fat gold coin. Subtle.

While Levi’s has yet to drop too many details regarding the upcoming line, the website Level Up shared a gallery featuring some of the upcoming pieces, which including t-shirts, hoodies, jackets, and of course, jeans.

Sure, Nintendo merch isn’t too hard to come by nowadays, but coming from a brand like Levi’s – usually known for its quality and resiliency – we’re expecting some gear that could withstand a bout with Bowser (or, at the very least, a good old fashioned goomba stomp).

Now, we just have to wait and see if the price point is reasonable or King Boo-level scary. Either way, we’ll be ready to jump over and check out this sweet Super Mario swag when it drops April 1st on Levi’s website and in select stores.

Super Nintendo World Confirmed for Universal Hollywood and Orlando

(YouTube / Universal Studios)

It’s official. Even though Universal Studios Japan has yet to even open its doors to the highly anticipated Super Nintendo World, Mario, and his pals are already set to make their way to both Universal Studios Orlando and Hollywood.

While some of you were certainly ready to shell out some serious coin to visit the up-and-coming Mushroom Kingdom in Japan, you’ll be able to play along with your favorite mustachioed plumber right here in the United States… as long as you’re willing to wait a bit.

Japan’s park is currently prepping for its Spring 2020 grand opening with Universal Hollywood’s Super Nintendo World scheduled to open in 2021 or 2022 and Orlando following suit in 2023.

All three parks are offering a super-immersive Nintendo experience as guests traverse the grounds with their Power-Up Bands, devices that allow “their arms, hands, and entire bodies as they explore the new area.”

(YouTube / Universal Studios)

Like wands used in Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter, these bands will need to be purchased instead of rented and will be available in six styles based on classic Nintendo characters: Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, Toad, and Yoshi.

Visitors will be on the hunt for virtual keys as that will be unlocked as they participate in Key Challenges. Once enough keys are collected, they can interact with more guests, unlock various upgrades, and jump into “boss battles”—where visitors take on bad guys, like Koopa Jr.—to win a golden mushroom. Plus, anyone who owns a Nintendo Switch will be able to track their progress via a console-based app that auto-downloads your progress.

Specific rides and attractions have yet to be announced for the US locations, but parents can definitely expect a bevy of Nintendo-themed restaurants and merch to geek out over… I mean, for the kids to geek out over.

Here’s the promotional video for the Japan location to help tide you over.

Dunkin Introduces ‘Snackin’ Bacon’ and It’s… Well, It’s Bacon

(Dunkin)

From breakfast to burgers to salads, fast food chains have been tossing bacon into recipes for years, but it seems strange that we haven’t seen just BACON as a menu item before. Well, our friends over at Dunkin’ have decided to change that.

Yes, in what appears to be a genius marketing strategy, the coffee and donut chain has decided to say, “F*** it, give ’em a sack of bacon,” and that’s exactly what it is.

Snackin’ Bacon is eight half-strips (equal to four full strips) of “high-end bacon” in a convenient little sleeve for “on-the-go snacking ease.” It’s so simple, you’ll wonder why no one has considered tossing fatty pork strips into a french fry bag before.

(Dunkin)

“Our Snackin’ Bacon starts its journey smoked with natural cherrywood. It’s then treated to our sweet and savory blend of brown sugar and black pepper seasoning, creating a delightfully caramelized bacon our fans know and love from our Sweet Black Pepper Bacon Breakfast Sandwich.”

A bag of bacon, while lacking any bells or whistles whatsoever, definitely makes a lot of sense. Not only are no other major fast-food breakfast chains offering a protein-rich snack like this, but it only costs $2.49 – perfect for anyone who prefers more savory items than what’s traditionally on Dunkin’s donut-heavy menu.

So, if you’re achin’ for some bacon (and let’s be honest—who isn’t?), stroll on down to your local Dunkin’ and pick up a batch of Snackin’ Bacon for yourself. Your taste buds will thank you even if your arteries won’t.

‘Star Wars: The High Republic’ Books to Feature Golden Age of the Jedi

Star Wars High Republic
(Lucasfilm)

For those dying for more content from a galaxy far, far away, Disney just announced their new publishing campaign for 2020 titled Star Wars: The High Republic. This major foray into the new expanded universe will be fleshed out via an interconnected series of young adult books, novels, and comic books set 200 years before Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

Previously referred to as “Project Luminous,” The High Republic will highlight a “golden age for the Jedi,” when both the light side force-wielders and the government they serve were at the height of their power.

Star Wars: The High Republic features the Jedi as we’ve always wanted to see them — as true guardians of peace and justice. This is a hopeful, optimistic time when the Jedi and the Galactic Republic are at their height. But of course, into this glorious new era something wicked this way comes,” Lucasfilm Publishing creative director Michael Siglain says.

“This initiative will give readers young and old a new corner of the galaxy to explore through rich, meaningful stories. Plus, readers will learn what scares the Jedi.”

Lucasfilm is comparing the Jedi of this period to the Arthurian knights of the round table—“guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy,” as Obi-Wan described in A New Hope—who will face a new group of villains known as The Nhil, playfully referred to as “space vikings.”

The first five books and comics are set to debut at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim in August 2020:

  • Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule (an adult novel)
  • Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark by Claudia Gray (a young adult novel)
  • Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland (a middle-grade novel)
  • Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures by Daniel José Older (a comic book series from IDW)
  • Star Wars: The High Republic by Cavan Scott (a comic book series from Marvel)
(Lucasfilm)

As per a press release, “This period on the Star Wars timeline will not overlap any of the filmed features or series currently planned for production.” However, should the material become popular among fans, there’s really no reason why Disney couldn’t pursue High Republic film adaptations in the future.

“We are so excited to be opening up such a rich, fertile era for our authors to explore,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said. “We’ll get to see the Jedi in their prime.”