Upcoming Game Releases You (and Your Kids) Can Look Forward To in 2021

Big Gaming Titles to Expect in 2021
(Nintendo/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment/Insomniac Games)

2021 is going to be a big year for video games.

I say that every year, but it’s especially true this time.  Nintendo has a great line-up of titles for their ever so popular Nintendo Switch and Sony & Microsoft, while focused on releasing plenty of exciting next-gen gaming experiences for their new consoles, will still be supporting their previous PS4 & Xbox One systems.  With love for current and next-gen gaming, this just means a year full of entertainment.

The list I’ve put together here contains a variety of new games releasing (or rumored to release) in 2021 that you and your kids could enjoy playing, a couple that are pure speculation (oh, I just love to speculate), and a couple “mature” titles that us adults can be excited about.  There’s something here for everyone to look forward to.  It’s also crazy to think we’re only in January and I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to find time to play all of these.

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

I’m so glad that Nintendo decided to finally port this over to the Switch.  My kids and I absolutely loved Super Mario 3D World when it originally released on the Wii U, and it’s right up there as one of our favorite Mario games of all time.  The levels are well-paced and the co-op is a ton of fun (unless your son keeps picking you up and throwing you off a ledge for a good laugh).   This game seemed to inspire Sony’s PS4/PS5 exclusive Sackboy: A Big Adventure, which is another great co-op experience to check out.  With this updated Switch release, it includes the “Bowser’s Fury” add-on, which contains Baby Bowser as a playable character (if the newest trailer up above is suggesting that), new levels, and a giant Bowser vs giant Cat Mario battle.  It looks awesome.

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury releases for Nintendo Switch on February 12th, 2021.  You can pre-order now.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Sony’s Ratchet & Clank series has always been something special.  The characters are lovable, the world is vibrant, the weapons are wacky, and the humor always has its tongue placed firmly in cheek. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is coming exclusively to the Playstation 5 and will be the 10th entry in the main storyline.  This new adventure includes new features such as a playable female character and interdimensional warping mechanics.  If you haven’t kept up-to-date on your Ratchet & Clank lore, don’t worry.  Developer Insomniac Games says ‘Rift Apart’ will act as a sort of standalone story, so newcomers won’t be completely in the dark.  For Ratchet & Clank enthusiasts though, I’m sure there’ll be lots of references to the other games for us to appreciate.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will release on PS5 in 2021.

New Pokemon Snap

This is a nostalgic surprise!  The original N64 Pokemon Snap was such a cool concept.  It was a unique and relaxing experience taking photos and trying to discover all the Pokemon in each area.  You could unlock different items like fruit, which you could toss at the Pokemon to get them out of hiding for that perfect photo.  With this new game, it includes an assortment of Pokemon from all the games in the franchise.  The only thing missing from this version is the ability to print off your pictures at the local Blockbuster Video.

New Pokemon Snap releases for Nintendo Switch on April 30th, 2021.  You can pre-order now.

Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game – Complete Edition

Based on the graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley (and film adaptation by Edgar Wright), Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game is a co-op, side-scrolling beat em’up that takes its inspiration from classics such as Streets of Rage and Final Fight.  It also features a great, old-school inspired soundtrack by Anamanaguchi.  Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Scott Pilgrim game was originally available digitally on PS3 and Xbox 360 but was de-listed from their online stores and just never showed up again… until now.  It does suck that I’ll have to purchase this again, but it’s totally going to be worth it.

Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game – Complete Edition is now available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch & PC

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga was originally supposed to release on October 20, 2020 but was unfortunately delayed until 2021.  It will adapt all nine entries in the Skywalker saga of films, so there’s going to be lots of content to get through.  Judging by the trailer, it looks like it’s going to be the best Lego Star Wars game yet, and I’m not ashamed to admit that a Lego game trailer gave me chills once that classic Star Wars main theme kicked in.  Gets me every time.

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will release on Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S in 2021

God of War: Ragnarok

The God of War franchise started out strong when it released back in 2005.  Over the years though, Kratos became a stale character.  Luckily, the developers of 2018’s God of War felt the same way. It still featured the same over-the-top action we loved, but it added a new element to Kratos by giving him a son that was actually a part of the moment-to-moment gameplay.  Immediately, I had a connection with him, as I wanted to do everything I could to keep Atreus safe. I didn’t always agree with how hard he was on his “boy”, but when Kratos started to become more caring and open up all dad-like, man… did it hit me right in the feels. I cannot wait to see where their journey takes them with this next installment.  Hopefully, it can live up to everyone’s expectations.

God of War: Ragnarok will release on PS5 in 2021.

Halo Infinite

Originally an Xbox Series X launch title, Halo Infinite’s reveal last summer was met with criticism. Fans didn’t think this looked quite like the next-gen Halo game they had been waiting for, so Xbox took that criticism very serious and delayed its release to Fall 2021.  This extra time allows developer 343 to really polish it so it can live up to the quality of the other titles in the series. Now, with a set release date, Xbox fans can really start to get excited for their “killer-app”.

Halo Infinite will release on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One & PC in Fall 2021.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2

All we have is this cryptic teaser trailer from 2019, but we know it has been in active development since then.  I’m thinking we’re going to get a new trailer this year with a holiday 2021 release date.  Breath of the Wild was a wonderful departure from the usual Zelda format, and while this one looks much darker in tone (like Majora’s Mask), I hope it still retains the massive open-world exploration and clever dungeons that made the first so refreshing.  Also, the Zelda franchise turns 35 this year.  Wouldn’t 2021 be a great time to announce the release date for this new one?  Maybe we’ll just get an Ocarnia of Time remaster on Switch instead, I’d be cool with that too.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 will release on Nintendo Switch.

The Elder Scrolls VI

Ok, this last one’s just for fun.  Sorry to get your hopes up.  This “Official Announcement Teaser” trailer we got two years ago was about as bare-bones a trailer as we could have got. Publisher Bethesda obviously just wanted everyone to know that a new Elder Scrolls game was in the works, but it has been two years since they made the announcement.  Either they’re saving a big reveal for 2021 and planning a holiday release, or we might have to wait until at least 2022 to jump back into the single-player world of Elder Scrolls. Considering everyone is still playing Skyrim though, I assume they’re in no rush and we’ll just have to keep waiting patiently.

The Elder Scrolls VI will release sometime this century, as long as Bethesda doesn’t keep re-releasing Skyrim.

So this is just a handful of big releases to look out for this year, and who knows what other unannounced projects will pop up in the meantime.  Yeah, 2021 is going to be a big year for video games.

Eddie Murphy Is Returning to Stand-Up Once the Pandemic Has Passed

Eddie Murphy Standup Return
(Getty Images/Jeff Kravitz)

He was the biggest comedy star in the world. And then he wasn’t. As Eddie Murphy’s star shot outta this galaxy in the 1980s, he could write his own ticket, which he did to a lucrative movie career (there’s never been a better-animated donkey). But the stand-up comedy itch, his first showbiz passion, never left him. And now, he’s talking about his return to the stage.

He spoke to Kevin Hart on a SiriusXM show and mentioned he was planning to return to the stage in the near future. Like everything else good in the world, his stand-up return was delayed because of COVID.

“My plan was to do Dolemite (his Netflix film), Saturday Night Live, Coming 2 America, and then do stand-up,” he said. “And then the pandemic hit and it shut the whole shit down.”

His movies and SNL appearance are behind him, clearing the path for him to pick up the mic again. Murphy was one of the most influential comedians of all-time and owns the highest-grossing special of all time in addition to several Grammys. While his comedy has aged (like his leather suits and honestly much of pop culture from 30 years ago), so have Murphy’s comedic sensibilities, as you can tell from things like his appearance on Jerry Seinfeld’s Netflix show or on SNL.

Murphy returning to stand-up would make him immediately one of the hottest draws in live entertainment. Of course, live entertainment is an industry currently in shambles, looking to rebuild itself as the world starts to drag itself out from the global pandemic.

“When the pandemic is over and it’s safe for everybody to go out and do it, then the plan is to do it,” he said.

While it’s been years since Murphy has done stand-up, he has kept up with the comedy scene and kept an interest in it. We’ve also seen comics take time off before and come back stronger than ever. Some point to Chappelle’s rebirth as a stand-up after his success with his sketch show, but even that layoff wasn’t that long.


But there will be no shortage of people who want to hear what Murphy thinks about life now, and see how he can be funny in 2021.

Robin Williams Made Companies He Worked With Give Jobs to Homeless People

Robin Helped the Homeless
(Getty Images/Peter Kramer)

Robin Williams was one of a kind. There’s no better way to describe him, other than to say he truly and fully embodied a cliché that is typically used flippantly. While battling his own inner demons, he was an incredibly kind person to most everyone he came across, and he was a great dad.

Williams’ enduring legacy has a way of keeping him in the minds and hearts of fans even years after his passing. That was the case earlier this month when a Reddit thread evolved into a series of anecdotes praising the late comedian, and one oft-overlooked story about how Williams had a clause added to his contract that required companies he worked with to give jobs to homeless people.

It was his booking agent who initially revealed the tender request from Williams’ rider, and that it made him look at every Williams movie differently after that.

“I’m sure that on his own time and with his own money, he was working with these people in need, but he’d also decided to use his clout as an entertainer to make sure that production companies and event planners also learned the value of giving people a chance to work their way back,” he said.

Robin Williams left behind an incredible movie and comedy legacy but was just as influential to the people he encountered and in the way he treated people. Everyone who worked on one of his movies has a great story about how he went out of his way to treat people nicely, and Williams was also a dedicated USO performer for more than a decade, touring the globe to bring entertainment to soldiers overseas.

And when it came to his rider, he wasn’t worried about what color M&Ms he was going to get or what meals he’d be served, he saw it as a chance to help the poor and give someone a break who might not have had many in his life.

Fellow comic Lewis Black once described him best, saying “his spirit of generosity was as boundless as his comedy.”

It can’t be said enough. Truly one of a kind.

Study Shows Being a Hands-on Dad During the First Year Can Improve Mental Health

Hands-on dads study
(Getty/Jaunty Junto)

Becoming a parent changes nearly all aspects of life, but preparing for those changes is nearly impossible. Extensive research has been done in the area of postpartum depression for women, but recently, scientists have been paying more attention to dads’ mental health after the birth of their children. Studies show that men are also susceptible to forms of postpartum depression, and unsurprisingly, taking on a more active parenting role has proven beneficial to new dads.

Psychologist and father of two Olajide Bamishigbin Jr from California State University, Long Beach has become increasingly curious about the psychology of fatherhood since becoming a dad himself. “I am a father of two young boys myself and research is oftentimes me-search. Generally speaking, I think fathers are important in the family. However, in our field, historically, they have been understudied, especially racial/ethnic minority fathers,” Bamishigbin told PsyPost.

To address this often-ignored subgroup of parents, a study was conducted among 881 low-income dads in the US. At one month, six month, and one-year intervals after the birth of their child, dads self-reported information on their parenting habits. They disclosed information on three parenting areas: time spent with their baby (both alone time and time in general), parenting self-efficacy, and material support for the baby (diapers, clothes, toys, etc).

High self-efficacy, in most cases, was associated with dads who spent more time with their babies and dads who provided more material support. Essentially, spending more time with your baby and feeling like you’re providing for your baby makes you feel more confident as a dad. This confidence when it comes to parenting skills was associated with fewer depressive symptoms and better overall mental health. This insight translated across the board in terms of dads, whether or not they were married or living in the same house as their babies.

“In general, I think there are two big takeaways. First, involvement with your child is not only better for the child, but it’s also better for the dad. So, dads, get involved with your kids early and often!” Bamishigbin told PsyPost. “Second, I think it is important for everyone to understand that paternal depression is a serious issue that requires attention. It affects fathers thereby impacting the entire family. So, it’s important that we take it seriously.”

Bindi Irwin and Chandler Powell Honor Daughter To-Be on International Women’s Day

Bindi Irwin Chandler Powell Women's Day
(Instagram/chandlerpowell, bindisueirwin)

Bindi Irwin and Chandler Powell, like any new parents, are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their first baby. The couple used International Women’s Day to honor the important women in their lives, and of course, their future daughter. Bindi Irwin has been a vocal activist for conservation, a wildlife warrior in her own right. Bindi and her husband Chandler are now excitedly looking to the future, anticipating the next generation of strong women – starting with their very own baby wildlife warrior.

“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them,” Bindi shared on Instagram.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin)

The inspiring quote accompanies the perfect photo, one that brings its sentiment to life. Bindi stands with her mom Terri, as both women’s hands lovingly cradle Bindi’s baby bump. Terri Irwin moved from Oregon to Australia, partnered with Steve Irwin on both conservation efforts and in life, and continues carrying out their legacy to this day. That strong woman went on to raise Bindi Irwin, who fully embodied the spirit of what it means to be a wildlife warrior – furthering conservation efforts and even publishing a book about the Australia Zoo and her family’s history. In Bindi’s Instagram photo, two generations of Irwin women look beaming towards the next.

Chandler Powell, Bindi’s husband, took to Instagram to share his own tribute for International Women’s Day. He wrote, “This #InternationalWomensDay and every day I’m thankful for the amazing women in my life. My beautiful wife, mom and mum-in-law are incredible.”

The dad-to-be concluded by honoring his future daughter, stating, “This year @bindisueirwin and I are also celebrating our gorgeous daughter who will be arriving soon.”

 

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A post shared by Chandler Powell (@chandlerpowell)

The Puma and Thundercats Collab Is the Purrfect Match

Thundercats Puma Sneakers
(Puma)

I’m not much of a sneakerhead, but I do love Thundercats! It might seem strange to lump these two things together, but it wasn’t strange to Puma.

Puma created a line of footwear inspired by the classic 80s cartoon, and they look incredible.

The Puma website describes the Puma X Thundercats collection:

“It’s time to rewind in the first-ever PUMA x THUNDERCATS collaboration. We dusted off the VHS tapes and pulled this one straight out of the archive, fusing futuristic PUMA silhouettes with vintage inspiration from some of the most cult-classic characters of all time. Collection silhouettes feature signature graphics and color references from fan favorites Lion-O, Cheetara, and the Cat’s Lair.”

Puma also released trailers for the new shoes, displaying them inside a ship clearly modeled on the one from the show:

Lion-O’s sneakers are blue and orange, just like the young leader, Cheetara’s include her signature spots, and the Cat’s Lair sneakers are black and white. They are available for adults, juniors, and little kids/toddlers, in case you want to indoctrinate your children into the majesty of the Thundercats.

Get them here and buy them up! If these sell well maybe we’ll get some Panthro, Mumm-Ra, and Snarf editions next!

Ewan Mcgregor Might Play Obi-Wan Kenobi in a Second Star Wars Show

Kenobi in Andor
(Lucasfilm/Disney)

Obi-wan Kenobi is a beloved Star Wars character, some people even worship him. But no one loves him more than the man who played him in the prequels, Ewan McGregor. McGregor has been vocal about wanting to play Kenobi again and his wish was granted during Disney+’s explosion of Star Wars shows, as he got his own miniseries (more on that in a second). But, that may not be all, as ANOTHER Star Wars show is reportedly adding McGregor to the mix as a recurring character. We may be getting more Kenobi than we bargained for.

According to several reports, McGregor will be bringing his Jedi master to “Andor”, the Star Wars spin-off featuring Diego Luna’s Rebel Alliance pilot/intelligence officer, first introduced in the smash hit “Rogue One.” With Kenobi in the mix, it gives rise to the theory that Andor will be exploring the early days of the Rebel Alliance, giving the standout spy a ton of territory to explore, especially if he crosses paths (or teams up) with one of the most notorious Jedi Knights still standing.

Another possibility is a timeline much closer to Rogue One, and therefore much closer to A New Hope, but that would require a much different Kenobi (he was an ancient Alec Guinness by the time R2D2 returned to Tattoine). So let’s hope we get more of the younger Kenobi, with a lot more room for the story to grow. The reports also indicate that Rosario Dawson could be bringing her force-sensitive, former Jedi to the mix as Ahsoka Tano (after a kickass debut in The Mandalorian). She too has her own miniseries, so this could be Disney+s way to connect a few of them.

As for his own miniseries, Kenobi is picking up steam. McGregor said in a recent interview that production on the show is officially kicking off this spring, and will debut on the streamer in 2022. We also know Hayden Christensen is coming back as Vader, which is truly incredible. We also know the show has cast Game of Thrones star Indira Varma, who played Ellaria Sand. Her role in Kenobi is unknown.

As for McGregor, he’s excited to pick up the lightsaber again.

“I’m thrilled to get the chance to play him again,” he said. “I’ve always felt there was a story between my ones and Alec Guinness’ ones and that’s what we’re gonna do. It should be really interesting.”

Fortunately for us, there may be more than just one story.

These Mint M&M Ice Cream Sandwiches Will Sweeten up Your St. Patrick’s Day

M&M's St. Patrick's Day ice cream sandwich
(Mars Wrigley)

Even during years when our celebrations aren’t rudely interrupted by a raging pandemic, arguably the best part of many holidays are the novelty foods that they inspire. There are a few guidelines, however, that must be in place in order for a holiday-themed food item to be successful. They don’t need to taste good, they don’t even need to make logical sense – they just need to be overwhelmingly reflective of the holiday. What’s the easiest way to make a seasonal food item painfully obvious? That’s right, dye ‘em.

M&M’s is on-point with their colorful branding, dying their exact same candy-coated chocolate various colors for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Halloween – honestly, it’s a genius move and they should be proud. This year for St. Patrick’s Day, the folks over at Mars Wrigley (M&M’s parent company) are kicking things up a notch. Not only are they going green, but they’re also going full Shamrock.

Conveniently timed to line up with the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, Mars Wrigley is releasing two new flavors of their unparalleled M&M’s cookie ice cream sandwiches. One new flavor features rich vanilla ice cream between two chocolate cookies, while the other features mint ice cream between two chocolate cookies. Both, of course, are sprinkled with mini M&M’s candies.

Though the green mint cookie sandwich comes out just in time for St. Patrick’s day, it isn’t branded as such. This is amazing news for mint-lovers everywhere, because it means that these drool-worthy cookie sandwiches won’t be disappearing from freezers as soon as the holiday season passes. These new additions to the Mars Wrigley ice cream line will be available in major stores nationwide, starting in early March.

Jayesh Shah, Ice Cream Marketing Director at Mars, said in a press release, “We’re excited to expand the joy of M&M’S colorworks to the Mars Wrigley ice cream line, starting with a minty green treat for St. Patrick’s Day. These new flavors add even more options alongside our fan-favorite M&M’S Vanilla and Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches – offering a fun and enjoyable treat for any occasion.”

Woman Gets Second Job as Nursing Home Custodian So She Can Be With Her Dad

Nursing Home Custodian
(YouTube/KARE11)

As spring settles in, the horror show from the last year is starting to give way to a more optimistic chance at a return to normalcy. For some, the vaccine brings a chance to reunite with family members they haven’t seen in a year, due to restrictions. And others during that time went to new heights just to stay close with loved ones. One woman in Minnesota wasn’t able to see her dad in a nursing home, so she decided to take a second job as the nursing home’s custodian. It wasn’t the extra income she was after, it was being able to see her dad.

When Lisa Racine’s 87-year-old father saw her walk into the nursing home, he was shocked. “I was kind of dumbfounded, how did you get in here?” he told a local news station. He called seeing her walk through the doors one of the happiest days of his life.

Lisa is a project manager by day, but by filling in as a custodian at the nursing home, she filled a big void as they said it’s been very difficult to find people that are willing to work there during a pandemic. Nursing homes were among the communities hardest hit by the virus and its effects.

“I could take a yoga class or go to happy hour, but I’d rather come and mop the floor and clean dishes so I can see my dad… He’s cleaned up plenty of messes after me in the past.”

That right there is a sign you were a great dad. When you get towards the end of the line, and you have a kid who thinks like that and is willing to mop floors in a medical community during a global pandemic, just so you aren’t alone…yep, you were a great Dad. And to a great dad goes the greatest reward…spending what time he has left with his children.

Father Figures: Attaboy

“This isn’t about my husband or my boyfriend, but one of my best friends, Ryan.

I’ve known Ryan for a couple years now, and one of the things that drew me to him as a person was his amazing love and skill at fatherhood. He’s a single, part-time dad, and sees the kids as often as he can. Sometimes for days at a time, sometimes for a spontaneous afternoon for sledding, and of course, the every-other-weekend.

It’s not just what he does, it’s the grace, competency, skill and felicity with which he performs those tasks and fills their days with joy and structure.

He teaches these two little girls budgeting with chores, indulges (quite a few) of their whims reasonably, Facetimes with them at every opportunity, while carrying the weight of a household on his back; the dogs, the laundry, the cooking, the adventures, the bills, time management, a full time job – all the blessed burdens we all hope we accrue some day.

There is always some debate raging about how we praise fathers. For every ‘attaboy’ or pat on the back, inevitably there is a backlash surrounding that; that men just doing their jobs as dads shouldn’t require the praise, that if a mom was doing it, nobody would be praising her for just performing her duties as a parent.

And yes, those arguments are valid. But a parent, any parent regardless of gender or biological sex or the complexity of their family systems, deserves a big, fat ATTTABOY for not just completing tasks and keeping the kids alive and entertained and in warm clothes but attending to them with such joy.

Hats off to parents who have rediscovered themselves through their children, that were made whole by parenthood and the day-to-day minutiae that comprises it.

The unplugging of Legos from nostrils, the joy of an afterschool pick-up, the midnight bad dreams, the perfectly-toasted grilled cheese, the early morning kisses and the overflowing diapers.

You all deserve an extra scoop of praise, and I’m leading the pack by presenting the best example of a parent I’ve ever known or known of, Ryan.”

– Bo Johnson

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