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Planned All Along is a video game review blog written by Nicolas Hamel. Games on Nintendo consoles are reviewed on this site, along with movies and Top 12s every once in a while. Nicolas uses the Internet reviewer method of explaining the plot, first and foremost, and take a look at everything else during that time. On the way include a lot of jokes, multiple references, some good puns and others that are not as good, lots of self-deprecation, a bit of meta comedy, and bouts of rage fueled by terrible games or films.

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Nicolas explains the title, Planned All Along, as describing any game's story; it has to be constructed in the early stages of development. Therefore, if the completed game's story still has defects, it means that these storytelling issues have been kept through the entirety of production. The story, including its problems, were thus planned all along, and weren't changed.


Here's a list of tropes present on Planned All Along:

  • Accentuate the Negative: Tends to be present, but ultimately subverted as Nicolas tries to stay fair to every game, even those he dislikes, using this trope mostly as comedy fodder until he gives his final words.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Used frequently, but brought Up to Eleven in the review of Kirby's Dream Land, when Kirby fights Lololo and Lalala.
  • Alter-Ego Acting: Alter Ego Writing: As is the case with many Internet reviewers, the Nicolas who supposedly voices his opinion on the blog is a character, a (slightly) exaggerated version of Nicolas himself.
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  • An Aesop: Don't half-ass games. Also, games that rely too much on luck are not good games.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: For April Fools' Day 2015, he reviewed the Sonic 2006 theme, His World, while claiming to be Todd in the Shadows.
  • Angrish: When he gets too angry, Nicolas stops using words and goes on large sessions of "AURGH".
  • Anti-Climax: Dimentio's powered-up form, according to him.
  • April Fools' Day: In 2014, he reviewed a PlayStation game, Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time. In 2015, he "supposedly" got another Internet celebrity to review a song from a game for him.
  • Asexuality: Dimentio, it seems.
  • Author Appeal: Quite a few things seem to pop up at a frequent rate. For one, his love of music of all kinds, especially prog metal and classic rock.
    • Adding to this, he absolutely loves dancing games, especially the Just Dance series.
  • Berserk Button: For starters, anything that depicts a negative picture of gamers, whether it's a stereotype, a plot point, certain events that took place in recent years.... or a movie.
    • The Messianic Archetype/Chosen One tropes seem to have become this for him.
    • Same for the Idiot Ball, when forced on a whole lot of characters to cause a situation where Stupidity Is the Only Option.
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    • He seems to have a thing against Team Flare lately.
    • Rivals starting off as smug jerkasses or turning evil over the course of the game are also a sore point for him.
  • Better Than a Bare Bulb: When not questioning certain tropes in games, Nicolas lampshades them. Sometimes he even lampshades his own tropes.
  • Breaking the Reviewer's Wall: Not common since this is a written blog, but Nicolas' unique style that combines Deep-Immersion Gaming and analytical look leads to peculiar instances of this. Also happens in the Super Paper Mario review.
  • Brick Joke: The advantage of splitting reviews in parts is that jokes occuring in the first parts can be referenced in the last parts, creating such an effect
  • Born Unlucky / The Jinx: The author frequently complains about his own bad luck, and will scream at games that require too much luck and not enough strategy.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Nicolas likes the idea of getting 100% Completion on games, but can't always do that with every game due to a lack of time, talent or will (in the case of bad video games).
  • Call-Back: Will frequently link back to previous reviews. One notable example is in his review of Scott Pilgrim VS The World. After saying product placement (Amazon.ca) allowed for a romance to bloom, Nicolas quips it won't be the only time. Cue a picture from his review of Wreck-It Ralph, where Felix and Calhoun fall in love after saving themselves from Nesquiksand.
  • Catch-Phrase: "Final thoughts?" when a review is over and he is about to look at all of his points a final time.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Yeah, remember all those "bouts of rage fueled by terrible games"? Turns out Nicolas has anger issues, as he realizes just before the second anniversary review begins.
    • After the review of Super Paper Mario, this has been downplayed, though Nicolas will still rage at bad games and have bouts of anger, though it's not as bad as it often was.
  • Cliffhanger: Sometimes, in multi-part reviews, a part will end just at a critical moment of the story, and resume at that point in the next part.
  • Cluster F-Bomb, Atomic F-Bomb, Precision F-Strike: Has employed each of those at least once.
  • Costume Copycat: For his "12 Games I'd Like To Play Again Someday", he mimics the Nostalgia Critic's outfit, very poorly (and lampshades it). The list is about games he used to own, which he sold or lost, and wished he could play again; in other words, he has nostalgia for those games.
  • Creator Provincialism: Nicolas is from Quebec, in Canada, and makes sure to remind the readers of that fact, especially when games taking place around the world forget about Canada.
  • Curse Cut Short: Usually averted, but a joke in the "Scott Pilgrim VS. The World" review plays it straight when Nicolas reveals he owns that same thingamajig Julie has that censors her speech and puts a black square over her mouth. For the rest of that part and the two parts that come after, some curse words are fully or partly blacked out.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Nicolas falls to this frequently.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: What good can be said of Anubis II? "It's in a normal-sized Wii box, so it takes very little place in a garbage bag."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Nicolas, but also the blog itself, if that's possible. Nicolas will often mention something, then the blog will put a picture of something completely different with a similar-sounding name, possibly to annoy him.
  • Deep-Immersion Gaming: His reviews are a combination of this and following the main characters around as the story unravels. Works fine most of the time...
    • The review of Bass Pro Shops' The Hunt is Deep-Immersion Gaming mixed with Reality Show, with Nicolas supposedly going on the field, driving the ATV, shooting the animals, facing the actual dangers. And it's written as if the show's hosts were in constant contact with him.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Gamer sent him into one of those, with his modd getting worse with every part of the review. It has been known to pop up in large reviews of games that exasperated him, too.
    • In the Play With Birds review, he has a moment where he laments everything wrong in gaming culture at the time of writing (including SWA Tting, the Obvious Beta releases and shovelware).
  • Epic Fail: Apparently, when rolling five dice, he once rolled a MINUS 5.
  • Face Palm: Uses this often, but the best examples are in the review of Super Paper Mario, where the "SLAP" is written in much bigger text to emphasize how powerful the face-palm is.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Nicolas will often drop the F or the S words at the drop of a hat, but that's a cultural thing; he's from Quebec and those words don't have the same strength they have in English-speaking countries. However, you know he's serious when he drops a Tabarnak.
  • Foreshadowing/Call-Forward: The site is often updated with a list of games Nicolas owns, which is already plenty of foreshadowing in and of itself (since he only reviews games he owns for the moment), but he has been known to slip references in current reviews to upcoming reviews of games and films.
    • For the site's second anniversary, the reviewed work is Super Paper Mario. In many reviews and Top 12s, Nicolas made fun of that game's final boss, foreshadowing a review of this game.
  • Fridge Logic / Fridge Brilliance / Fridge Horror / Genius Bonus: Numerous In-Universe examples.
  • Get Out!: How Dimentio is defeated after taking over the site. The actual combat having failed, Nicolas yells this to Dimentio, and the single word "OUT" in large font is lengthened to be more than two pages long. Another "OUT" follows, in even bigger font, which finally causes Dimentio to leave.
  • Gratuitous French: Not frequent. One such gag happens in the review of Hard Corner: Le Film, a French film without a English dub or subtitles available. At the end, before going back on his points, Nicolas accidentally makes a paragraph in Quebec French.
  • A God Am I: Has a short moment like this as he reviews Scribblenauts.
  • Guilty Pleasures: Has a lot. Many games he criticizes negatively are games he still enjoys. One example that pops to mind is Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Sacred Cards, where he hates the plot due to the player character stealing all of the spotlight in the Battle City arc, yet this results in a So Bad, It's Good story.
  • Halloween Episode: Each year, on Halloween week, Nicolas publishes a video game horror story.
    • The first one, The Uncharted, told an encounter against MissingNo. through the eyes of a Pokémon Master encountering it... and being incapable to defeat it.
    • The second one, Different, follows characters of Smash 4 in the Smash mansion as they struggle to live with knowledge that they're not the "originals", and thus gained their own personalities over time. The Subspace Emissary is treated as canon, so the fight against Tabbu did take place; but the troubles aren't over, as Master Hand began acting weirder than usual. The narrator is Link, which leads to quite a few funny moments.
    • The 2015 story, Conscious Again, is Darker and Edgier, featuring a Pokémon world where Team Flare has achieved their goal, and two Team Flare grunts sneak out during the party to see this new world for themselves... Nicolas admitted that this was an attempt at portraying concepts of realistic horrors in the Pokémon world, thus aiming more for psychological horror, death and PTSD.
  • Heroic BSoD: The movie Gamer put him in this state.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: By Dimentio, near the end of the Super Paper Mario review, no less!
  • Hypocritical Humor: Sometimes. Then again, hypocrisy coming from the game itself is also heavily criticized.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: The author will use those whenever he sees an opportunity.
  • Insult to Rocks: From the Anubis II review. "I'd gladly call this game shit, but shit would then sue me for defamation and misrepresentation." There's a reason that game, and other Data Design Interactive works of art, can be seen listed on the horrible video games section of this wiki.
  • Keet: What the text often implies about Nicolas.
  • Mood Whiplash: Surprisingly common, as moments of hilarity can be followed by serious discussions... or sad revelations.
  • MST: For the first anniversary review, Nicolas reviewed Super Smash Bros. Brawl and riffed over the Subspace Emissary mode.
  • Nice Guy: Always tries to be positive, however difficult it may be.
  • Nice Hat: Usually wears a Mario hat on the title cards for reviews of Mario games.
  • No Name Given: The Trainer and the Team Flare grunt in the 2013 and 2015 Halloween stories.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Used frequently, when outlandish story elements come up.
  • Painting the Medium: This being a written review blog allows for a lot of medium-painting much different from what is done in video review shows.
    • An example is in the review of Hotel Dusk: Room 215, where due to following Kyle Hyde everywhere during the story, Nicolas (as a narrator of sorts) also starts running out of air, and as time passes in the enclosed space his sentences are cut more and more by ellipses. The finished sentences end with exclamation marks, because he's panicking. It een takes him a moment to recover after the door is unlocked from outside. Up until that point, the review felt like a long Private Eye Monologue.
  • Pungeon Master: Either he's that or he makes terrible puns. It's up to the reader.
  • Recurring Extra: The Kirby plush appears on most, if not all, the title cards to Kirby-related articles. On some title cards for Kirby games, it even steals the spotlight!
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Wii game Anubis II almost sent Nicolas into one.
  • Running Gag: Quite a few.
    • Introducing a new Counter or Meter; it worked fine in the review where the gag was introduced, but it broke on both subsequent times.
    • Never remembering Puzzler Collection, for the Nintendo DS, even though he reviewed it.
    • Saying "I didn't make this up", or "I wish I was making this up", or anything similar.
    • Talking trash about the Mario series all while acknowledging that he loves it, and trying to find a reason why he's so harsh to it. Happens on just about every single review of a Mario game.
    • Using a variation of "Nicolas" as a character name.
    • Calling rivals Keith.
    • Referencing something from Quebec.
    • His bad luck.
  • Sad Clown: More and more implied.
  • Self-Deprecation: All. The. Time.
  • Shout-Out: Enough to get its own page. Every review has at least a few shout-outs.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Much more on the Idealistic end of the scale, but tends to tip on the Cynicism end when a game particularly annoys Nicolas.
  • So Okay, It's Average: In-universe, a rather common verdict on the games and films reviewed.
  • Spoof Aesop: Will often slip those in regards to the strange occurrences in the games he reviews.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: When games railroad the player into making bad choices (due to said bad choices being required to move the plot forward). The more glaring examples of this, according to Nicolas, are in Super Paper Mario, where on numerous occasions he could tell a trap was Mimi in disguise, but the characters couldn't move on until they fell victim to said trap.
  • The Scrappy: Plenty of In-Universe examples, whether it's Anubis, Globox, Mimi, Dimentio, Ball Mario, the cast of Castle of Shikigami III, Gideon Graves, most of the cast in Gamer... the list goes on.
  • This Is Going to Suck: A frequent feeling conveyed either in the first few paragraphs, or in the title card at the top of the review.
    • The title card for Anubis II has Nicolas brandishing a knife at the game. The first videos included with the text shows him screaming like he's suffering.
    • Subverted in the Defend Your Castle review. It turns out the game is good after all.
  • Up to Eleven: The Top 12 lists.
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