The top ten songs from the Banjo-Kazooie series

The two Nintendo 64 Banjo-Kazooie games are known for a lot of things, from being excellent platformers to having great and memorable music.  While their GBA and Xbox 360 sequels weren’t as well-received as their N64 originals were, the Banjo-Kazooie franchise is still remembered as one of the best open-world platformer series in history.  In honor of their memory, I’m going to share my top ten favorite songs from the series.  The list will be split up into two posts, with today’s post being the first five on the list and tomorrow’s post having the remaining five.

I originally started this out as a top-five list, but I couldn’t decide on the five I liked most, so it was expanded into the list of ten it is today.  Because it was so difficult to pick ten I liked, this list isn’t going to be in any specific order.  Anyway, enjoy the list!

Click Clock Wood – Spring (Banjo-Kazooie)

Any article listing the top ten songs from the Banjo-Kazooie franchise is bound to have this song somewhere in it, and for good reason.  The song itself starts off with only one instrument playing, but then slowly builds up to become one of the most memorable and catchy songs in the entire game.  Add in the birds and crickets chirping in the background, and you get a song worthy of being on any top ten list.

But the song itself isn’t the only thing great about this track.  It also fits in perfectly with the theme of the level.  Click Clock Woods is a level based around a tree in a forest, and the song captures that feeling perfectly.  The wind instruments used in this song create a serene, peaceful feeling while also keeping up that fun atmosphere that the Banjo-Kazooie games are known for.  In addition, the song pauses and slows down in parts so you can hear the crickets and birds, which gives off the feeling that you’re in the middle of some forest.

Mr. Patch Battle (Banjo-Tooie)

Mr. Patch is probably one of the most memorable bosses in Banjo-Tooie, and the song that plays in the background is even more memorable.  The music that accompanies the battle with Mr. Patch is expertly composed to give off the feeling that you’re in some kind of demonic circus battling against something, all the while keeping that quirky charm Banjo games are known for.  I’m not a composer, but I can’t imagine any other song going along with this battle as well as this one does.

To truly understand why this song is so great though, you have to have played through the level in which this song appears in Banjo-Tooie.  Witchyworld is like a carnival from hell, and right in the middle of said carnival is a giant circus tent.  Inside that tent waiting to battle is, as the game describes, a strange wobbly inflatable thing known as Mr. Patch.  It’s basically the main attraction to the carnival, and the fast-paced music that goes along with the battle just emphasizes that point.

Gruntilda’s Lair (Banjo-Kazooie)

No list compiling the top ten songs from the Banjo-Kazooie series would be complete without the series’ most iconic song.  This is the song you hear the most when playing through Banjo-Kazooie, and you never tire of it.  The instruments used in this song fit Grunty’s lair perfectly, as they make you feel like you’re really in a witch’s lair and not anywhere else.  The instruments used also change when you get close to a level’s entrance to fit the level that you’re around.  It’s a small touch, but it goes a long way in helping this song stand out.

As a side note, this song becomes even greater when you realize that it’s actually based on the 1932 song Teddy Bear’s Picnic by Henry Hall and His Orchestra.

Rusty Bucket Bay (Banjo-Kazooie)

Yet another song that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that’s played the Banjo-Kazooie games.  Like the other songs on this list, Rusty Bucket Bay’s music fits the theme of the level perfectly.  The entire level is an industrial shipyard with one main ship in the center of it all, and because of the instruments used in the stage’s theme, you get the feeling that you’re actually in an industrial area.  You can also hear the sounds of seagulls and the ocean and in the background of this song, and to top it all off, it incorporates ship whistles into the actual song.

But what I think I love most about this song is just how catchy it is.  Even after you’ve left the level and moved onto Click Clock Woods, you’ll still find yourself humming this level’s theme.  And even if you’re someone who hasn’t played Banjo-Kazooie, you can still appreciate Rusty Bucket Bay’s theme because it’s actually a really good song.

Grunty Battle (Banjo-Kazooie)

Banjo-Kazooie is on a roll today!  Four of the first five songs on this list are from the first game in the series.  Don’t worry, tomorrow won’t have as many Banjo-Kazooie songs.

By the time you reach this battle, you’ve gone through nine worlds and collected almost every jiggy and note in the game to get to this point, and you expect an epic showdown between Grunty and yourself.  The game doesn’t let you down, and that’s thanks in part to the amazing music that’s playing in the background.  While the rest of the game’s music has a quirky, happy feeling to it, this song is completely serious.  It really gives off the feeling that this battle is the finale, and it’s done or die.

I also love the fact that it starts off as a remix of Guntilda’s Lair’s theme, but then transforms into an epic final battle theme.  The remix is a great way to start off the final battle with the evil witch that’s kidnapped your sister, and the epic part is an even better way to finish off the battle that the game had been leading up to the entire time.

Mad Monster Mansion (Banjo-Kazooie)

This track starts off with an organ playing a song that gives off the feeling that you’re in some haunted graveyard, but then it transforms into one of the quirky songs that the Banjo-Kazooie series in known for.  While it is a quirky song, it doesn’t manage to kill the overall atmosphere of the level.  The organ music continues to play in the background in some parts, and in the other sections of the song, the other instruments used are able to carry the creepy feeling.  Couple that with the hoots of owls and howls of wolves in the background, and you get Mad Monster Mansion’s theme.

But the thing that I like most about this song is the feeling you get when you’re actually playing the game.  You’re constantly running away from ghosts, skeletons, and tombstones that come to life, and the song is just the right place to make it feel creepy and frantic at the same time.

Jolly Roger’s Lagoon (Banjo-Tooie)

Although this song only plays in the entrance of Jolly Roger’s Lagoon, it’s probably the song that most people associate with this world.  Since it plays right at the entrance, it’s the first song you hear when you play the water-based level.  Right when you hear the first notes, you realize that the world you just entered is going to have a pirate theme, even if the surrounding buildings don’t look like it initially.

Freezeezy Peak (Banjo-Kazooie)

Freezeezy Peak is probably one of the most unforgettable stages from the original Banjo-Kazooie, and part of the reason it’s so memorable is thanks to the level’s music.  The music in this world makes you feel like you’re really in a winter wonderland.  The instruments used help create the vision that everything around you is either icy or covered in snow, and on top of that, the overall feeling of the track is upbeat and happy, just like how you’d imagine a winter wonderland to be.

The music really fits the level when you actually start to walk around and take everything in.  The enemies are mainly evil snowmen, and then the characters inside the level are colored lights, a walrus, and a family of polar bears, which all fit the winter theme and the music perfectly.

Hailfire Peaks – Lava Side (Banjo-Tooie)

When you enter Hailfire Peaks for the first time, this is the first song you hear.  It’s an excellent way to introduce the level, as it automatically makes you feel like you’re on the side of a gigantic volcano full of lava.  Instruments such as trumpets and tubas help listeners be able to imagine themselves in an area where they’re surrounded by pools of lava on all sides.  The background sounds that play during the song also emphasize that point because, throughout the track, you’ll hear gas escaping from vents and the sound of bubbles popping in the lava.

Although the ice side of this level is the same song, just with different instruments, it’s much more toned down.  While it does fit the theme of the ice side of Hailfire Peaks, it’s overall less memorable than the lava side’s theme because of its toned-down nature, which is why this song appears on the list instead.

Banjo Land (Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts)

I know this is a cheap song to put on the list considering about half of this song is already on the list in form of MIDIs.  I was considering leaving it off of the list for a while, but then I decided that it was just too good to leave off.  Really, if you’re a fan of the music in Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie, how can you not love this song?  It’s all of your favorite songs from past Banjo games, just orchestrated.

There isn’t much else to say about this track, considering I’ve talked about most of it in my other entries.  The only thing that’s really left to discuss is how it fits in with the level.  Although the level doesn’t have the industrial feel that Rusty Bucket Bay has, or the forest-like atmosphere that’s present in Click Clock Woods, this song does fit the stage to a tee.  Banjo Land is all about nostalgia, and listening to this track is probably one of the most nostalgic things I’ve ever done.

The best Baldur’s Gate 3 builds

Here’s a Baldur’s Gate 3 build for each class, including the races, abilities, and subclasses you should choose.

Looking for a decent Baldur’s Gate 3 build to see you through Early Access? Baldur’s Gate 3 is a game based on D&D. That means that while you can min-max, it’s not 100 percent necessary for a few reasons. For starters, sometimes you can take the strongest character in the world and ask them to pick up a bag, but if they mess up that strength check, they’re still going to mess it up. That being said, having an optimized build still helps a lot. That’s why I’ve put together this Baldur’s Gate 3 builds guide to get you started. 

But keep in mind that, whether you follow the following templates or not, sometimes the digital dice just won’t roll in your favor. And that’s okay; It’s part of the fun. It’s also important to remember that, unlike Divinity: Original Sin 2’s builds a system, you can’t really build a hybrid class, so your priority is to make sure your character creation is optimized. 

Oh, also, Humans are basically okay at everything: If you’re worried, pick them. Volume 0% PLAY SOUND

Cleric

Primary stat: Wisdom
Best races: Gold Dwarf, Wood Elf
Best abilities: Cantrips: Guidance, Resistance, Sacred Flame. Spells: Bane, Healing Word, Shield of Faith.
Best subclass: Life Domain

Now, it’s a little cliche to say a Cleric should be doing lots of healing, and it’s not the only thing that they can do in Baldur’s Gate 3, but it is what they’re best at. Assuming you’re playing a Cleric because you want to help all your friends out, this is the build for you. 

To boost the effectiveness of your healing spells, you want Life Domain. You’ve then got your healing spells (Healing Word and Cure Wounds, the latter from Life Domain) to keep your party alive, your debuffs (Bane) to keep your foes from striking, and your support spells like Shield of Faith and Resistance. The aim of this build is to keep everybody alive at all times.

Ranger

Primary stat: Dexterity
Secondary stat: 
Wisdom
Best races: 
Elf, Halfling, Drow
Best abilities: 
Mage Breaker, Beast Tamer
Best subclass: 
Beast Master

As a Ranger, you can go far by being really good friends with an animal—and shooting things, naturally. Mage Breaker Grants you the True Strike cantrip, which gives you an advantage on attack rolls against a creature. 

As with the Fighter, you can double down on a weapon at Level 2. For this build, choose Archery as your main fighting style. Unlike the Fighter, you also get to choose a couple of spells: You generally want Cure Wounds if there’s don’t have a Cleric in your party for healing, or something like Jump and Longstrider if you do. At level 3, go for the Beast Master subclass to complete your animal-friendly transformation.

Warlock

Primary stat: Charisma
Best races: 
Tiefling, Half-Elf, Lightfoot Halfling
Best abilities: 
Cantrips: Eldritch Blast, Mage Hand. Spells: Hex, Tasha’s Hideous Laughter
Best subclass: 
The Great Old One

The Warlock is another class that can play various roles. However, for this build, it’s better to focus on rendering your opponents unable to fight and then using Eldritch Blast to take them out. 

At level 2 you get to choose two Eldritch Invocations—make sure one of these is Agonizing Blast. It adds your Charisma modifier to the damage of your Eldritch Blast, which makes almost obnoxiously powerful. Combine that with your ability to stop enemies attacking you, and you become a demon.

Fighter

Primary stat: Strength
Best races: 
Githyanki, Shield Dwarf (Strength Weapons) Strongfoot Halfling (Dexterity Weapons), High Elf (Dexterity weapons and INT for Eldritch Knight spellcasting)
Best subclass: 
Battle Master 

Unlike the magic classes, you’ll have very few choices when starting off as a Fighter. In fact, you’ll basically have none beyond your choice of weapon. Pick your race that best suits your preferred weapons. 

At level 2, you get to choose a specialisation, which is basically the weapon you like to use. At level 3, though, that’s when you can choose your subclass. You can be an Eldritch Knight if you want, but it’s a little ineffective most of the time. Instead, it’s generally better to go with the Battle Master, which allows for more interesting attacks.

Rogue

Primary stat: Dexterity
Best races: 
Halfling, High Elf, Drow
Best subclass: 
Thief

The Rogue is probably the most straight-forward class in Baldur’s Gate 3. Your aim is simple: Use your hide and sneak attacks to take out enemies as fast as possible. 

In fact, you don’t even get to make any choices until level 3. At that point, you then get to choose your subclass. There are definitely some arguments to be made for Arcane Trickster here, but the other classes should have you covered on that front. Instead, it’s usually better to just focus on your stealthy abilities and choose the Thief, who gets an extra bonus action each turn.

Wizard

Primary stat: Intelligence
Best races: 
High Elf, Tiefling
Best abilities: 
Cantrips: Fire Bolt, Ray of Frost, Shocking Grasp. Spells: Mage Armour, Burning Hands, Grease, Magic Missile, Sleep, Witch Bolt
Best subclass: 
Evocation

Of all of the classes, the Wizard probably has the most fun. You’ll have an almost overwhelmingly large number of options to choose from each time you level up. Even just starting the character chucks a bunch of spells at you. However, the spells above blend pure damage with a couple of utility spells. Also, always use Sleep. 

At level 2 you’ll get to choose a subclass, either Evocation or Abjuration. Abjuration is a little more tricksy than Evocation, but it’s hard to beat the higher damage output of the Evocation School. Plus, you can actively make sure your friends don’t get hit by your AoE attacks.

Assassin’s Creed Most Iconic Scene

The Assassin’s Creed franchise has become one of the most popular video game franchises ever. With installments spanning across numerous generations of consoles and over a dozen installments, the game has taken players from the Middle East to New England, and a ton of places in between over the course of centuries. Each game and each playable character brings in new gameplay and story elements, all while keeping the spirit of the first game alive.

Assassin's Creed Most Iconic Scene

Although the formula has deviated in the last several installments, the playable characters are just as rich and interesting as ever, as well as the story being told in each game. In a franchise built on moments that shape the course of history, there have been some truly epic moments over the years.

10 Altair – Leap Of Faith ALtair performing the Leap of Faith


Despite the success of the franchise, most people consider the first game to be the worst in the franchise. Although it introduced a lot of amazing elements, the game felt a little repetitive and lacked the variety of later installments. However, this game did introduce the single most iconic game mechanic that would come to define the franchise: The Leap of Faith.

In the game’s opening sequence, Altair must jump from the top of a castle into a pile of hay below him, allowing players to live the thrill of a death-defying free fall that game still incorporates in the latest installment.

9 Ezio – Opening Sequence Ezio overlooking the city of Florence


Unlike the first game, Assassin’s Creed II starts with a relatively normal character in the opening sequence. Rather than playing as someone that is already a trained and ruthless killer, Ezio is just a boy causing mischief.

This allows for one of the coolest moments in the franchise as you climb to the top of a cathedral and look out over the city at the end of the opening mission. This scene sets the stage for one of the best installments in the franchise by inspiring the missing sense of adventure, immediately setting it apart from the first game.

8 Connor Kenway – Escaping Execution Connor kenway’s public execution


Even though it’s a far cry from the best game in the franchise, Assassin’s Creeds’ impact is still very important, even in the more recent games. Not only improving the free-run mechanic that the game is most known for but also adding naval combat, which would become a fan favorite and a staple for many of the games that would follow it.

Anyone that’s played enough of the game will remember the adrenaline-pumping mission that sees the protagonist about to be executed before he is able to escape and track down his captor in the ensuing chaos. Everyone loves a good slo-mo sequence.

7 Edward James Kenway – Prison Escape Edward Kenway in Assassin’s Creed Black Flag


A favorite amongst many fans of the franchise saw the game move far away from its original setting in ancient times. Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag instead sees players commanding a pirate on board Black Beards ship. At one point while sailing the high seas, Kenway is captured and his crew must help break him out.

Although the game normally focuses on the weapons and gadgets at your disposal, the missions see a much more stripped-down approach. Forcing players to slow down and rely on stealth elements to escape.

6 Shay Patrick Cormac – Leaving The Assassins Shay Cormac pointing a gun from a rooftop


Another stand-out game in the series Assassins Creed: Rogue saw players controlling a templar for the first time, rather than an assassin. The departure from the series tradition and allowing players to play as what was normally thought of as the villains was a welcome change and Cormac remains a fan favorite.

The moment that Shay leaves the assassins guild completely came as a shock to many players and seeing him turn his back on “the good guys,” is still one the most iconic moments in the franchise.

5 Arno Victor Dorian – Arno Kills Germain Arno holding a cross


Assassins Creed: Unity received mostly mixed reviews amongst fans but that didn’t stop them from admitting that the game had one of the most enjoyable settings and possibly the most satisfying death out of any game in the series.

After witnessing the death of his lover at the hands of Germain, Arno stares Germain in the eyes as he slowly inserts the iconic hidden blade right into his neck. This scene is truly chilling and not something that players will soon forget.

4 The Frye Twins – An Unscheduled Stop Jacob Frye hanging from the side of a train


With many of the games in the franchise taking place in ancient times, fans were understandably hesitant with another game taking place in a more technologically advanced time period. However, most fans likely forgot all about their earlier trepidations during the train sequence in Assassins Creed: Syndicate.

The mission sees the protagonist fighting numerous enemies on top of a moving train before the train is sent over a cliff, forcing Jacob Frye to make a daring leap to avoid the deadly plunge. It was here that he also delivered one of his classic one-liners: “Well, we seem to have made an unscheduled stop.”

3 Bayek Of Siwa – The Beach Scene Ending scene of Assassin’s Creed Origins


Assassins Creed: Origins was a first in many ways for the franchise. Most notably it was the first game that truly committed to being an RPG rather than just a game that had some RPG elements. One of the biggest places that players saw that change was in the size of the map, which was massive compared to other games in the series. Either way, the game deviated significantly, for better or for worse.

However despite the game not “feeling,” like Assassins Creed to many people, it had arguably the single, most iconic moment in the entire franchise. In the final moments of the game, Bayek leaves his old life behind, dropping an Eagle pendant in the sand. When the skull is lifted, the Assassins Creed logo is left behind in the sand, finishing a near-perfect origin story for the creed.

2 Alexios/ Kassandra – The Final Cliff Scene

Now firmly an RPG, Assassins Creed: Odyssey, improved on much of the game mechanics that were added in the previous installment. One of the biggest changes was allowing the choice to play as a female or male character when players fire up the game for the first time.

No matter which character the players picked, the final scene is largely the same but with a twist that makes it unique, compared to the rest of the franchise. There is actually a choice to be made at the end; players can either kill their brother/sister or let them live, resulting in a moment that is extremely powerful as the choice is in the hands of the player.

1 Eivor – Eivor Fights Odin


Over the years, players have been asked to take down some truly powerful foes. Although Odyssey saw several boss battles in which Bayek was fighting ancient Egyptian gods, this is the first one to create a more intimate feel to the battle.

Fighting Odin is truly a heart-pounding moment, as Odin’s power is on full display and is unlike any other foe that players face in the game. It’s not every day that you have to fight a God.

10 Best Anno Games

The Anno series consists of many wonderful games; it’s difficult to know the best Anno game. Each game installment has its unique title, but the storyline and gameplay mechanics remain the same.

10 Best Anno Games

This article will rank the best Anno games primarily made for PC and those made for handheld devices. Choose the best Anno game from the list below.

Anno: Build an Empire


Anno: Build an Empire is the best Anno game for Android and Ios. The gameplay is fairly the same as the other Anno games for PC. Except for the fact that it contains in-app purchases, but that’s a normal thing for most android apps. The storyline is the same as other Anno games set in the colonial era.

You’re required to maintain the economy of the colony, upgrade existing structures, and trade with others.

Anno: Create A New World


This is an electronic strategy game developed for Wii and Nintendo DS. This game is set in the 14th century during King George’s reign. At that particular period, the Kingdom faces great famine and drought.

King George decides to send his 2 sons; William and Edward to explore other parts of the world. You take the role of Edward, who has a more peaceful approach to issues, unlike his brother. You are required to find resources and meet the needs of your citizens.

Anno 1701: Dawn of Discovery


This is another electronic strategy game, making it to this list. It’s one of the best Anno games developed for Nintendo DS. It has 3 modes of play, namely: Multiplayer, continuous mode, and story mode. It begins with the player sailing across the sea searching for a suitable Island to settle.

Eventually, you’ll find an Island to settle. You advance in the game if the settlers’ needs are satisfied. You’re required to build an economically stable city for all your inhabitants. In the continuous mode, you’re allowed to invade other rival settlements and possess them. Similarly, in story mode, you can do the same, but you have to fulfill some tasks first.

Anno 2205


Anno 2205 is the sixth Installment game of the Anno series. It is one of the few Anno games that has a futuristic setting. Players have the responsibility of leading corporations that aim at advancing technology.

Besides, they have the role of building city-states. Moreover, they’re responsible for catering to the needs of their citizens. Production depends on the fulfillment of the citizen’s needs.

Anno 1701


This game setting is in the 18th century during the colonial era. The player takes the role of a colonial ruler whose main task is maintaining and building the colony allocated to him/her.

The colony is in the “New World.” The game focuses on maintaining the economy of the colony. Having a balanced economy means a successful colony. After that, you can acquire other colonies by invading and defeating rival players.

There are 5 stages of the game, namely: Pioneer, Settler, Citizen, Merchant, and Aristocrat. You’re required to level up each stage from Pioneer to Aristocrat respectively.

Anno 1503


Following the huge success of the Anno 1602, Anno 1503 came as a direct sequel. Just like its predecessor, it became a best-selling game across the globe. In this game, you’re required to maintain a colony based in the new world and ensure its economic prosperity.

Set in the 16th century, and it begins with you (the player) as a captain of a ship sailing across sea searching for a suitable Island to settle.

Eventually, you’ll settle and begin advancing in civilization. You build an economically stable city for all your inhabitants.

Anno 1602


Anno 1602 is the pioneer game of the Anno series. The other Anno games were build based on the storyline of the Anno 1602. It is the game that introduced progressive artificial intelligence into its gameplay. As a result, it became a top-notch game during its era.

Players can create their real-world that fits their imagination. You’re set to explore different parts of the world and discover new settlements there. Trade plays a key role in the game as you have to keep your economy balanced.

Anno 2070


The game was released in 2011 and has a futuristic setting. With the highlands having turned to Islands due to the melting of the Arctic Icecap.

As a result of the effects of Global warming caused by environmental pollution and other factors. The once-popular Islands have been flooded and disappeared under the ocean.

You’re responsible for exploring new frontiers and voting in a group of leaders you deem suitable to lead. However, there are no established governments but 3 factions, namely Ecos, Tycoons, and Techs. Use the factions to change and develop your world. Techs are available in later stages of the game.

Anno 1404: Venice


Anno 1404: Venice is an extension of the Anno 1404 Installment. It follows the same storyline as Anno 1701 but has better mechanics. It introduces new features and supports multiplayer mode.

The game’s setting is in the medieval period, which is popularly known as the age of discovery. It’s evident as there are constructions of cathedrals and capitalism is also introduced.

The gameplay focuses on colonizing islands and setting up settlements, factories, etc. Also, there’s the construction of monuments, and it embraces gothic architecture. Trade plays a key role in the game as you can’t advance further if you don’t generate enough income.

Anno 1800


Currently, this is the best Anno game in the Anno series. It is also the latest Installment of the game launched in 2019. Even though it’s the latest, the developers chose to go back to a historical setting unlike its 2 predecessors set in the future that’s Anno 2070 and Anno 2205.

The game begins during the 19th century Industrial Revolution. It introduces new features related to Industrialisation’s effects on the people living on the Islands.

Additionally, it has some aspects of colonial trade but focuses more on the labor industry and the needs of the workers. It has a new feature where that helps players plan the city hence improving gameplay.

The Top Ten Ace Attorney Characters

I’ve made no bones about the fact that I love the Ace Attorney franchise. Though I came in late with the second game, Justice For All, I quickly got the first one, then Trials and Tribulations, and then got Apollo Justice, Dual Destinies and Spirit of Justice. Oh, and the Professor Layton crossover and the first Miles Edgeworth solo game. I loved the series so much that I ranked the games in the series (Spirit of Justice is missing, the list was done before that), and, I ranked the prosecutors that helped make the game great.

The Top Ten Ace Attorney Characters

I truly love Ace Attorney, so when Capcom announced that the next official game in the series would come to the Nintendo Switch, I was pumped, and I’m already anticipating the over-the-top cases that will be had. But, what makes the series truly special is the characters that fill it up. And some of them truly stand out above the rest. So, I’m going to count down my favorite Ace Attorney characters.

Now, before anyone shouts, “OBJECTION!”, I make this note. I’m only including characters from the main six games and the first Miles Edgeworth Investigation game, as those are the only main titles I’ve played. Yes, I played Phoenix Wright vs. Professor Layton, but I would call that a spinoff in the non-pure sense. So, let the judging begin.

Honorable Mention: Shi-Long Lang

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Ace Attorney Investigations, especially since the game would focus on the detective work that’s done outside of a courtroom instead of figuring it out inside of it. What made it really intriguing though was the rivalry between Miles Edgeworth and Shi-Long Lang. 

Lang is a wolf in just about every way that matters, and his dogged determination of justice led him to the top ranks of Interpol. Yet, you might be surprised that he’s actually a very caring individual. He has 100 subordinates, and he knows their names, families, birthdays, and family birthdays…that’s impressive.

He also is wise despite his aggressive nature, often reciting philosophy to help people understand his actions.

Oh, and he took a bullet once to ensure that a criminal was brought in alive, then shrugged it off like it was nothing!

So, think he’s not worthy of the list? NOT SO FAST!

10. Godot

You might be surprised that my “Top Prosecutor” made the bottom of the list here. Well, you have to remember, I put him as the top PROSECUTOR, not the top character. Among the prosecutors, he was the one I always enjoyed going up against, and though he’s at the bottom here, he’s still one of my favorite Ace Attorney characters.

The tale of Godot is a tragedy, he was once a famous defense attorney, one who worked alongside Mia Fey in her first year as an attorney. But, a murder case literally ruined his life. He was poisoned and should’ve died, but instead went into a coma. When he awoke, his health was wrecked, Mia was dead, and her killer walked free.

So, he plotted revenge, but when the immediate revenge couldn’t happen, he chose a turnabout of revenge, all aimed at Phoenix Wright.

Godot’s hatred of Wright slowly got exposed, and it truly showed the tragedy of the man behind that visor. But, in the end, he was able to accept his wrongdoings, and even toasted Phoenix for his victories, and honoring the spirit of Mia. Speaking of whom…

9. Mia Fey

Mia Fey is arguably one of the most important characters in the Ace Attorney series, which is interesting because she’s dead for most of it. The reason she’s important though is that it was her belief in clients and their innocence that inspired many people. Including Godot (when he was known by his real name Diego Armando) as well as Phoenix Wright himself.

In fact, Mia defended Phoenix during a murder trial, and her passionate defense inspired him to follow his true dream of becoming an attorney to “save a friend”, and later became part of Mia’s own agency.

Yet, fate would not be kind to her, she died while trying to solve a case…but…she also is part of a family of spirit mediums, so she kept coming back for a while. And I loved every minute of it.

Mia is passionate, especially when it comes to cases, she’ll go to great lengths to find the clues necessary to solve a case the right way. But don’t think for a second she’s soft, she’s gone up against Miles Edgeworth, Winston Payne (whose undefeated streak was broken by her), and even stared down the devil herself and didn’t blink.

Though she didn’t leave the world the way she wanted, Mia can rest easy knowing that her legacy is in the people she left behind.

8. Ema Skye

Ema’s story is one that proves how this series has evolved since its early days. She was brought in for the DS version of the game via the fifth case “Rise From The Ashes”. By the end, she was sent off to Europe to become a Forensic Investigator.

Fast forward three games to Apollo Justice, and Ema was back, and all grown up. She was now a detective, and would eventually become a Forensic Investigator like she wanted. And I can’t help but love her, cause she’s so great.

Her passion for science is funny every single time, and not to mention, it’s very useful. She’s a key reason why many cases are solved. But…she can be a bit volatile at times. Early in her career she hated not being “allowed” to do forensic science…so she did it anyway. And she didn’t like the prosecutors she was with, even calling Klavier Gavin a “glimmerous fop”.

But what sets Ema apart for me is her loyalty to her job and to her friends. She still respects Phoenix for what he did for her in “Rise From The Ashes”, and during Spirit of Justice, Ema was asked to testify against Trucy Wright, and almost broke down in tears at the thought of it, because she knew she was innocent.

Needless to say, that tugged on my heartstrings. And for that reason and more, she’s on this list.

7. Pearl Fey

And that really applies to Pearl Fey, aka Pearls (why add the extra letter for a nickname?). One of the biggest additions to the series via Justice For All, Pearls is the cousin to Maya Fey. But just because she’s small, doesn’t mean she’s helpless.

Pearls actually has a very gung-ho spirit in some things, not to mention the fact that her tiny body houses an enormous amount of spiritual energy. She’s literally a “one-in-a-million” spirit medium because of all that energy, which has been helpful when people like Mia needed to be summoned in tight spots.

More than that, Pearls is just adorable. She was raised in a very secluded village via Kurain, and as such, doesn’t get the more nuanced phrases and words that city folk like Phoenix Wright has. Also, she has a very limited idea of what love and romance is…to the extent that she felt Phoenix and Maya were meant to be a couple…and heaven help you if you were going to threaten that image in Pearl’s head.

By the time Spirit of Justice came around, Pearls was a teenage, and a bit wiser to the world. I don’t know if we’ll see her again, but it’ll be a joy if we do.

6. Kristoph Gavin/Dahlia Hawthorne

The Ace Attorney series needs great prosecutors and defense attornies, but also, they need criminals. The ones that are beyond contempt and that you hate with your very soul. And of the entire series, these two are the worst. Sorry Manfred Von Karma fans, these two got him beat.

Kristoph Gavin was a well-respected defense attorney, and had made his name for being the coolest man in the courtroom. But, when a high-profile case didn’t go his way via a dismissal by his client, he plotted revenge against him and all who were attached to his defense. His plan for revenge lasted 7 years until he was caught by the duo of Apollo Justice and Phoenix Wright, but it was anything but easy.

Then, there’s Dahlia. Remember in the Mia section I said she “stared down the devil herself”? That’s Dahlia. This sweet-looking girl is anything but, she’s a monster, pure and simple, willing to lie, cheat, betray, and con anyone that gets in her path so that she can get what she wants. Nothing in life mattered to her except herself. And only through the combined efforts of Mia Fey and Phoenix Wright was she finally taken down.

So, why do these two characters stand out above all the other villains? Well, they’re just that evil. When Kristoph gets exposed, he literally goes mad, and shows the world his true colors. Even when he’s convicted, he can’t help but laugh. As for Dahlia, the girl is the devil. Her true self was so evil IT BURNED BUTTERFLIES!!!! BURNED THEM! And when we found out that she had been summoned back from the dead, you couldn’t help but wonder if she would never truly die. Making it oh so satisfying when you literally got to watch her burn and get her demented soul back to the depths.

Apollo Justice and Trials and Tribulations were great games on their own, but these characters pushed them over the top.

5. Apollo Justice

It’s a well-known fact, that after Trials and Tribulations, the Ace Attorney series was supposed to end. The creator planned a trilogy, and he fulfilled it. But, Capcom had other ideas, but they knew they had to shake things up, like bring in a new main character. Enter, Apollo Justice.

I know a lot of people don’t like Apollo because he basically “replaced” Phoenix for one game, but come on, the kid has heart, and Chords of Steel! Never forget that!

Now, I’ll admit, his first outing wasn’t the best, but by the time Dual Destinies and Spirit of Justice came around, he got to shine on a much brighter stage. And I’m grateful. Apollo is steadfast in his pursuit of justice, he was even the guy who got Kristoph Gavin convicted, twice! Add to that, he’s always wiling to keep going, no matter what pressure is put on him. His signature “I’m Fine!” line may sound cheesy, but the story behind it is meaningful.

Furthermore, when his adopted brother kept trying to force him to stop his defense, he defiantly refused, for just like Mia and Phoenix before him, he will never stop trying to prove the innocence of his client.

On a story note, Apollo has some of the most growth in the entire series, even leaving the Wright Law Offices to help restore the justice system in his homeland. But…something tells me he’ll be back.

4. Athena Cykes

I find it interesting that the “second chapter” in both Ace Attorney trilogies brought forth an epic female for us to love and adore. In the second trilogy, that’s Athena Cykes.

Now, you might look at her and thinks he’s a brightly colored fangirl of sorts, but she’s actually an attorney, and a genius when it comes to psychology. In fact, her ears (I kid you note) are so sensitive to people’s voices that she can hear when they’re lying via the emotional state. Through this, she made a device called Widget, where she can help visualize their emotions and help them get through the trauma they’re feeling in order to see the truth.

What sets Athena apart from the others in my mind though is her backstory. For this is a girl who was born with a condition few could understand, then her mother died, and a person she knew was innoncent went to jail for the crime. She was destroyed in every way. Yet, she picked herself back up, studied law, and fought to get her friend Simon Blackquill freed, and she did.

Athena is a both a ray of sunshine and a ball of energy all wrapped up into one. It’s great to see. And with Apollo now out of the agency, it’s her turn to step up and truly make her case as one of the best attornies in the game.

3. Maya Fey

What’s there to say about Maya Fey? Except that it honestly doesn’t feel like an Ace Attorney game without her.

Maya is the right hand of Phoenix for the first three games, using her spirit medium skills to help out in key situations, as well as offer advice to Phoenix when he’s feeling down. They’re truly best friends, and throughout the series, you feel that Maya is becoming your best friend too.

More than anything else though, Maya is a girl who will never give up. Ever. Now, Athena had a singular tragedy happen to her. Maya has been accused of murder in every single game she’s been in. Including the most recent title Spirit of Justice. She was accused of killing her sister Mia, a client, her own mother, and then an esteemed monk. This girl cannot catch a break!

Yet, her belief in Phoenix and her innocence carried her through all of it. And that’s inspiring. She even taught a priestess a lesson or two in humility. You go Maya!

I mentioned earlier that Ema Skye had one of the most heartbreaking moments in the series, Maya has the other. During Trials and Tribulations, after she had been freed from the evil spirit possessing her (Dahlia Hawthrone), she was asked her profession. She replied she worked at Wright & Co. But when she was asked about her being a spirit medium, she stated, “I want nothing to do with it.” She witnessed first hand twice the curse of the Fey family name, and it scarred her so badly that she wanted to stop.

Thankfully, Phoenix cleared her name all those times, and inspired her to continue on in her spirit medium ways. And now, she’s a full master of the Kurain Channeling Technique, and I couldn’t be prouder. Oh, and she’s an epic fangirl, long live Silver Samurai!

2. Miles Edgeworth

One of the fan-favorite characters of the entire Ace Attorney series, it’s no surprise that Miles Edgeworth is at this spot on the list. For while some character stories are tragic (and his certainly is), his story is more redemptive than others.

Phoenix Wright and Miles Edgeworth were friends in their youth. But, when Miles father died, his life changed forever. Gone was the desire to be a defense attorney, and in came one of the most ruthless prosecutors the courtroom had ever seen. Trained by the infamous Manfred Von Karma, Edgeworth became a one man “Guilty!” machine. That is, until Phoenix came back into his life.

Through the actions of his friend, Edgeworth began to question everything he knew, and slowly but surely became the righteous prosecutor of justice that fans love. By the time Justice For All arrive, the transformation was complete, and everything that came after was proof of the justice, true justice, Edgeworth sought.

Now serving as the High Prosecutor, Edgeworth is more determined than ever to rid the office of corrupt prosecutors. He had a big hand in ending the “Dark Age Of The Law”, and helped Phoenix get his attorey badge back after he wrongfully lost it.

Fans love Edgeworth so much that he got his own duo of solo games, which fans appropriately loved. And they’ll continue to love Edgeworth every time he shows up.

I know it’s cliche, but come on, was there ever any doubt he should be up here at the top? Save your “Hold It!” for later.

Phoenix Wright is the character we play as most in the series. And even in Apollo Justice, where’s technically a side character, we still see him a lot, and even play one of his past cases. Phoenix is the embodiment of what the law should be. Pure, true, and a desire to see justice done the right way. Through his eyes, and his pointer finger, we are able to get the truth revealed, and make sure that the true criminals get locked up for good, and it’s satisfying every single time.

Now, there is some debate about how clever Phoenix actually is, and how much of his skills actually translate to the courtroom. For proof (by the end of the last game at least) of his genius skills, I point to Apollo Justice and Spirit of Justice. The former had him playing his own version of a “long con” to get justice for what happened to him and the Grammayre line. And it was brilliant. Then, in Spirit of Justice, he was able to use the law numerous times to extend a case he was clearly going to lose. You can’t do that if you’re not crafty.

And while it’s true that we the players are the ones figuring out most of the stuff, Phoenix does figure out many things on his own.

As the series advancement, he became more than just a lawyer, he became a mentor to Apollo and Athena, as well as a father to Trucy, his adopted daughter. His faith in them and their abilities is endless, and we see that in the games.

In the end, though Edgeworth is a great character, this series wouldn’t have worked if Phoenix wasn’t just as great, and 6 main games, a spinoff, an appearance in MVC3, an anime, a manga, and a live-action movie later, there’s no doubt that THE Ace Attorney character is Phoenix Wright.

Ok, it’s time for your cross-examination. Do you agree with my verdict? Or you wish to overturn it? Do let me know.

The Top 5 Songs in the Ace Combat Series

Think back to your favorite song. Chances are when that song comes to mind, there is a memory. For example, “Happy” by Pharell Williams may harken back to happier times. Adele’s songs might do the opposite. Everyone’s choice is different; music can express feelings and thoughts better than we can. The Ace Combat series’ ability to do it well makes it one of the more engrossing selections of music in recent video game history.

The Top 5 Songs in the Ace Combat Series

Ace Combat is known for its over-the-top presentation of air-to-air combat: planes carry hundreds of missiles, take multiple hits and, oftentimes, end up flying through a tunnel of some sort, somehow.

Set in “Strangereal,” a fictionalized version of Earth, the series revolves around a global catastrophe – asteroid fragments destroying numerous countries – where the only constant is war. To recover from the asteroid impact, countries often start wars to get land and industries. A familiar formula plays out: the player’s country is invaded and is pushed to the brink of defeat. 

With the war shifting as the player progresses, Ace Combat does a phenomenal job of placing the players in the thick of the action through music. Much of the credit goes to Keiki Kobayashi, one of the main composers at Namco Bandai. He mixes different genres and styles to great effect to complement the game. 

That said, here are five tracks from the Ace Combat series that set the bar.

5. “Lightning Speed” from Ace Combat 2

At only 1 minute, 10 seconds, “Lightning Speed” is the shortest song on this list, discounting the #4 bonus add “Rex.” That said, this track is essentially the late 1990s in music form.

A guitar riff greets the listener, with drums following soon. About halfway through the track, the guitar and drums go fast and furious, with a brief guitar solo that thoroughly sets the tone for the game: flying at over-supersonic speeds to destroy enemies. 

The song ends with a guitar solo and a fevered drum pattern. “Lightning Speed” is the perfect way to introduce Ace Combat 2 to players and is a good listen, length notwithstanding.

4. “Rex Tremendae” and “Agnus Dei” from Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies

“Rex Tremendae” – a 30-second prelude – has to be included. A choral arrangement, “Rex” prepares the player for the final mission: destroying the enemy’s last-ditch doomsday weapon, which is guarded by their best pilots. 

“Agnus Dei” is more complex: drums and horns combine along with the chorus. At around 2 minutes, 24 seconds, the chorus cuts for a brief moment while the drums and strings play in unison. For reference, at this point, the player is engaging the enemy ace squadron, adding to the suspense. 

The rest of the song continues the haunting chorus, never allowing the player respite from the situation at hand. As a whole, “Rex” and “Agnus Dei” beautifully lay the foundation for what the player can expect in the final mission. 

3. “The Liberation of Gracemeria” from 6 Fires of Liberation

The string, horn, and woodwind sections all slowly build in a feeling that seems akin to cautious optimism itself. At around 2 minutes, 30 seconds, all three sections gain momentum, eventually culminating in all three sections breaking through with a feeling of exultation. 

“The Liberation of Gracemeria” is reminiscent of the players’ in-game journey, from being pushed to the brink of destruction to taking the mainland back. 

It’s a perfect song to “Go dance with the angels” with (a phrase littered throughout the game.)

2. “Daredevil” from Skies Unknown

A loud horn and a combination of synths welcome the player before a bevy of strings joins in as well. In a way, the music mirrors what happens in-game: the player (the horn) is joined by numerous squadrons – both friendly and foe (synths and strings) – with one goal in mind: to end the war. 

The piece continues building throughout, emulating the ebbs and flows of battle. Almost 2 minutes in, there’s a choral arrangement with only synths, serving as the perfect interlude for what’s to come. Then the song continues building yet again, eventually culminating in a brief silence. At around 3 minutes, there’s a massive explosion of sound: the choral arrangement, horns, drums and everything in-between collide together. 

In all, “Daredevil” is a must-listen; words alone cannot describe it. It’s one of the best pieces of music in the Ace Combat series.

1. “Zero” from Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War

Arguably Kobayashi’s magnum opus, “Zero” begins somberly, as two friends-turned-foes fight for the freedom of the world. The string section – joined by drums and flamenco guitars – gradually rises to a crescendo. 

From there, all the elements join together to form a wall of sound that’s infused with a choral arrangement about a minute in. All the while, players “air joust” their buddy. “Zero” is the perfect encapsulation of the players’ emotions during the mission: the choral arrangement and the accompanying string section is the realization that players must shoot down their friend to save the world; the flamenco and clapping represents the frenetic nature of war; and the subtle horns add to the grandeur. 

“Zero” is a masterpiece in every sense of the word and is not to be missed.

8 Things ‘Age of Empires’ can Teach You About Running a Business

Games, especially those played on a screen have always been considered a waste of time by the majority. Quite a few allegations have been continuously made on them of inducing violence, being meaningless, and imparting no value to the players. I beg to differ.

8 Things ‘Age of Empires’ can Teach You About Running a Business

During my college days and in fact even now, while running two fairly successful companies, I play video games and I love them. One of the games that particularly stands out is ‘The Age of Empires’. Not only because of the excellent game that is but also because of the way it enhances my ways of doing business.

The game has taught me many lessons of strategy through its gameplay and tactics, out of which I have listed the 8 which can be utilized by every Entrepreneur in the business:

Harness your resources efficiently

While playing AoE, the focal point of all participants is harnessing the resources. Be it the food, wood, stone, or gold and the reason being obvious – they are limited and not everyone can get enough.

When you are in business, the resources are – funding, customer’s cash, good employees, or even a great office. Everything is limited. You must always be exploring and harness them continuously. They are the fuel of your business.

Your citizens drive your kingdom

One of the features I love at AoE is the Idle citizen button. When you click on the icon, you are shown all your citizens that are sitting idle. An idle citizen is a waste of resources that you put into building him. You should always keep a tab on them and utilize them efficiently to produce the desired result.

In your organization, they are your employees. There must be a system that always keeps an eye on idle employees. At the same time, you should be in a condition to find work for them, either through reallocation or acquiring new projects. The human resource is equally, if not more important than the gold you mine.

Collect Relics

The idea behind collecting relics in the game is – If you collect a relic and deposit it in your temple, your gold would automatically keep on increasing, forever. It is one-time hard work and the benefits are endless.

Your relic in your business is the one product that hits the chord with the market. The product that’ll keep the cash flowing in and support your business in tougher times. It would give you the buffer to innovate and create strategies to become the leader.

Build your Outposts and Watchtowers

The map in AoE is very dynamic in nature. The places that have yet not been explored by you will appear dark and no movements taking place there would be visible to the player. To counter the challenge, we have to build Outposts and Watchtowers at regular and key positions.

In the business world, market intelligence becomes the hygiene factor for a successful business. If you aren’t aware of the latest happenings of the market, the competitor will encroach upon your business, exploit it and eventually kill it.

Protect your Castle

The castle is the place where the king and the most important subjects reside. An attempt to vandalize the castle and take your subjects away will always be made. Keeping the castle and the residents safe is one of the key tactics to win the game.

The competition would always want your best employees and would lure them in any way possible. Their faith and security must be one of your top priorities. Losing them would result in a major setback for your business and may result in fatality.

Construct a Wonder

Constructing a Wonder in the game gives you an unfair advantage. If your opponents aren’t able to destroy your wonder within a stipulated time, they’ll automatically lose.

In the business sense, your competitive advantage is your wonder. It may be the business model, a breakthrough innovation, or simply your unique culture. Your competitors may destroy your wonder either by imitating it or creating something better, but the time within they should do it is limited. Similarly, for you, innovation should be a practice to develop new wonders every time.

Underestimating Nobody

There are several civilizations in the game, Age of Empires, and every civilization has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The common notion spread is of a few civilizations being more disadvantageous than others. The biggest mistake a player does is to believe those notions.

Even if the market intelligence or the grapevine tells that a particular competitor isn’t big enough to consider, do not trust them blindly. Keep a watch on the market and the tactics that your competitors implement. Keep the competition healthy and your company healthier.

Economy is the King

A rich economy is the backbone of a great kingdom. It’s the gold that fuels the imperialistic ambitions and luxuries of making a wonder. A huge army with a depleting economy has very little time left before it is thrashed to ruins.

Innovation and creativity are luxuries that only cash-rich organizations can afford. An organization needs both of them for long-term existence. Hence, keeping the organization cash-rich and the P&L beautiful, gives you the slack to re-invent tactics and win your competition over.

In conclusion, all I would mention is – Learning never stops. Learn from every source possible and in the end, you wouldn’t have wasted a single moment of your life.

Nintendo: Animal Crossing New Horizons character cards

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is now desperately in need of new content. The game needs new events and characters to keep older players of the game engaged in the title instead of only catering to newer players. However, there is no saying when the Animal Crossing community will get this much-needed update.

Nintendo: Animal Crossing New Horizons character cards

While in-game updates are still uncertain, Nintendo recently announced the arrival of a brand new set of character cards for Animal Crossing: New Horizons. This set is the third set of cards that have been introduced since New Horizons was released, and is supposedly going to be one of the most packed ones.

There are four Animal Crossing character cards so far.

Trading cards have become a very important part of the Animal Crossing franchise, acting as the mark of a veteran player. Animal Crossing trading cards are the most popular in Japan, so every card set usually sees its initial release in Japan itself. The most popular character card set so far has been the reputed Amiibo card set, which saw exploding sales numbers during its release after the boom in popularity of New Horizons.


The new character card set will contain 32 cards, most of any card set released to date. It is also going to be slightly different from previous card sets, which mainly focused on villager characters. This card set will focus on the 2022 calendar, as well as the villagers’ birthdays. There will be about 16 new villager cards in this set, including the likes of Raymond among others. These cards will have details about the characters including their birthdays on the front, followed by a postcard at the back.

The new Animal Crossing: New Horizons character card set will also be released by Bandai, similar to the previous card sets. The set will be available for purchase in October 2021 but is already open for pre-order. However, as is the trend, it is expected that these cards will also primarily see a Japan release. But the cards will be available for purchase on websites like Amazon and eBay.

Netflix could rival Apple Arcade while being a step ahead

The move would make Apple Arcade’s $4.99 per month service the company’s direct rival.

One usually associates Netflix with movies and TV shows, but not gaming. The company’s second-quarter earnings report, however, suggests that’s about to change.

Netflix suggested it could soon explore gaming as “another new content category,” starting with mobile games for paying subscribers.

Netflix said that it is viewing gaming as a category for expansion just like original films, animation, and unscripted TV in the past.

With the initial foray, Netflix wants to learn how users “value games.” The company clarified that games will be a free-of-cost addition for existing subscribers.

Its closest rival, Apple Arcade offers games playable on iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple TVs.

Apple Arcade itself hasn’t taken the mobile gaming market by storm with titles playable on low-powered Apple TVs, even if the titles are the same games that one could play on iOS.

While it is unlikely that even Netflix would develop new games, the fact that it plans to bundle games with subscriptions puts it a step ahead of Apple Arcade’s separate subscription offering.

Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings said, “We’re a one-product company,” and that product is the one membership you buy. Everything that Netflix produces including shows, movies, Original content, and now games will be a part of this product.

Netflix games will reportedly be ad-free and won’t have options for in-game purchases either. Moreover, you won’t need to buy individual titles.

For strategy, Netflix explained that it will experiment with titles based on popular Netflix franchises, so fans can dive deeper into their favorite stories and characters.

The streaming giant said that it will also try completely original games that spawn spin-off movies or shows themselves.

CNET reported that Netflix could also experiment with games based on popular media outside Netflix’s library.

But why would Netflix want to dabble in the gaming market? Well, in 2020, worldwide stay-at-home orders saw the number of new Netflix subscribers shoot up.

With the pandemic-related restrictions now easing off, the streaming giant recorded its third quarterly subscriber count decline in 10 years.

In the US and Canada alone, Netflix lost around 430,000 subscribers in the second quarter this year.

However, Netflix’s gaming venture doesn’t come as a surprise. Earlier this year, a report by The Information highlighted Netflix’s interest in games. MacRumors reported that the company has hired former Electronic Arts (EA) executive Mike Verdu as the President of Game Development.

The company hasn’t specified a timeline for the gaming initiative but said it was in the “early stages” of a “multi-year effort.”

How Cardano’s ADA token is set to go mainstream

Mainstream around the world is homing in on cryptocurrency trading, tackling anything from how exchanges can function, to how digital assets are taxed.

Would-be investors are clamoring for the kind of relatively safe products that would give them access to cryptocurrencies, but without having to stomach their huge volatility – and potential for losses.

For US investors at least, that kind of product is still a way off. But it’s exactly what the crypto industry needs to graduate to the financial-market mainstream, according to Amy Arnott, a portfolio strategist at Morningstar that focuses on cryptocurrencies.

“What I would really like to see is a diversified crypto index fund in the form of an ETF,” Amy Arnott, a portfolio strategist at Morningstar, told Insider. “The SEC still hasn’t approved any ETFs in the United States which makes it very difficult for mainstream investors to gain exposure to cryptocurrencies.”

“It seems like there’s a lot of internal debate at the SEC about whether they should go ahead with this – it’s an important trend and a lot of investors need to have access to it, but they do need to protect investors,” she added.

A crypto ETF could reduce some of that volatility and attract more traditional investors with a lower risk profile. An ETF tracks an index, security, or commodity, allowing investors to buy into a particular financial theme.

In June, SEC commissioner Hester Peirce said a crypto ETF was long overdue.

“With each passing day, the rationale that we have used in the past for not approving seems to grow weaker,” Peirce told CNBC.

Since the start of the year, bitcoin’s price has fluctuated from below $30,000 to a high of almost $65,000 and a low of $31,576, and ether has moved from around $1,300 to closer to $2,800, before crashing below $1,800.

However, the SEC has continued to reject ETF proposals, meaning investors that want to buy into cryptocurrency have no choice but to deal with the volatility of individual coins.

As well as the SEC blocking a crypto ETF, the Chinese government banned bitcoin mining in parts of the country in June, leading to the digital currency falling below $30,000 for the first time in five months.

“Regulatory risk is a big issue – that’s been the driving factor behind a lot of the volatility over the past few months,” Arnott said. “If governments around the world clamp down on crypto in general, or bitcoin and ether specifically, that would be a large negative.”

Arnott also said that it is difficult to determine a suitable price for many cryptocurrencies as they are not cash-generating assets, and this can contribute to volatility.

Ether has an in-built price to an extent because it is used to power decentralized finance transactions and to support NFTs. This has led to some analysts referring to the cryptocurrency as ‘digital oil’ or ‘digital gas’.

“The fact that ether is used as a utility should provide some sort of price floor, but I’m not sure what that should be,” Arnott added. “A lot of people talk about a network effect where these currencies become more valuable as they are used more and there are more interdependencies and connections.”

Lastly, Arnott backed Cardano, the open-source cryptocurrency created by Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson, as a promising altcoin that could join bitcoin and ether to form a “big three” of mainstream cryptocurrencies.

Like ether, Cardano expects to implement decentralized finance services in 2021, and the platform will soon be able to host smart contracts. In 2021, its token ADA soared from $0.18 to $1.16 – a 544% increase.

“Cardano is similar to Ethereum, in that it’s a protocol that has a lot of potential technical applications,” Arnott said. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm about Cardano, and also various stablecoins.”

“The interesting thing that’s happened over the past year or so is that institutional investors have been far more willing to adopt cryptocurrencies and look at them as an investment asset. As that trend continues we’ll see other cryptocurrencies become more mainstream,” she added.

Close Bitnami banner
Bitnami