E3 2018: A Brief Recap

This year, my awesome friend Carney and I decided to take a trip to Los Angeles and attend E3 2018! I just got back and while I intend to write a blog about the ENTIRE trip, I wanted to do a quickie overview of E3 first.

LOS ANGELES

Things that were great about E3:

  • Game Demos. Obvi. If you can manage to get into a line, playing some of the latest games is one of the best parts of E3. I played Super Smash Bros. for Switch, as well as the new Monster Hunter. However, those were the only demos I managed to play. More on that later.
  • Swag. While not QUITE as impressive an offering as I remembered in 2013, there is still a decent amount of free stuff to get at E3. Tote bags, Vault Boy masks, and free Drakes snack cakes were some of the most prevalent finds at the convention center.
  • Decor. For some reason, the booth setups at E3 are always the coolest. I’ve gone to NYCC, PAX East and PAX West and none of it compares to E3 when it comes to life-size dioramas and game world immersion.

Things that were pretty shitty about E3:

  • Lines. LINES!!! I quickly realized that E3 actually stands for Everything has 3 Hour Lines. Because that’s how it is. We got there at 9am and by the time I was scanned in and at the Nintendo booth at 9:24, the line for Let’s Go Pikachu was 3 hours long. It was very disheartening. The only reason I was able to play the Smash demo was because they forced us to book time slots in advance. But now I’m actually grateful they made me do the extra work because that at least ensured that I got to play SOMETHING. Jeez.
  • Lack of Panels. There were not many ‘events’ planned for E3. Not that it would have mattered, because you’d probably have to commit an entire day to waiting on the line to get in. But one of the best parts of conventions are celebrity panels. Why aren’t there any at E3?
  • The Cool Nintendo Events Weren’t Actually At E3. The Splatoon 2 Tournament was held at a theater offsite and you had to line up at a specific time on June 11th (BEFORE E3 EVEN STARTS) to get wristbands. Guess what? My flight was only arriving at that time. Same deal with the Smash Bros. Tournament – that day they were giving out tickets at the same time as my Smash Bros. demo time slot. Soooo wait in a line in hopes of getting tickets to watch the Smash Invitational, or actually go to E3 and play the demo I had registered for in advance. Naturally we went with the sure thing. But why was Nintendo forcing us to pick which thing was a priority? It felt very unfair. I caught a few glimpses of the tournaments on live feeds they had on TV screens. Whoop.
  • You Can’t Even Go to the Major Press Conferences. Yeah yeah I don’t have a press pass. But in the game company livestream videos, it always looks like a huge auditorium filled with fans in attendance. In reality, those are all paid professional press badge holders at those events. They are getting PAID to cheer. Actual die-hard fans don’t even get to go to the press conferences. Hmph. Plus they hold the press conferences early in the morning when the rest of us plebs have to wait in lines to get in. We don’t even get to watch unless we wanna burn mobile data.

You might sense my disappointment in E3 by now. You would be very correct. I quickly realized that the lines are likely to be much more manageable when I go to the Nintendo NYC store and play in the E3 Demo Area in the convenience of my home state. Honestly, my time spent away from E3 was much more fun. I did lots of cool touristy things and had a blast in LA. I’ll blog about the rest of my trip in a day or two. But for now, check out my Flickr album and enjoy the VISUALS of E3…. at least it’s a very IG-friendly event.

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Inside the Nintendo Labo

With birthdays come presents, and so on Friday when I (and thousands of others) received the Amazon Treasure Truck alert for Nintendo Labo pick-up in NYC and a friend suggested this be her gift to me… I decided to go pick one up!

Amazon Treasure Truck!

I’ve never purchased anything through Treasure Truck before, so I was interested to see how it would work. My pickup location was near a Whole Foods, so I walked over to the store and found the truck stationed around the corner. There was only a short line – I don’t know if that’s because I got there on the early side, or if the demand is low for this game, but I was relieved that this wasn’t going to take too long. A table was set up for people to enter to win a free Nintendo Switch, and other workers were scanning our Treasure Truck QR codes and handing out the huge Nintendo Labo boxes.

Practice Tutorial: Joy Con Holder

The Nintendo Labo Variety Kit is a collection of “Toy Con” construction sets, as well as a Nintendo Switch game to guide you through the assembly and facilitate the cool game features that the Toy Con unlock. While the game is certainly geared towards kids, an adult is most likely required during the Make phase, which can get a little complicated! I’ve only made the RC Car Toy Con so far, check it out!

The RC car has no wheels, and is powered by the Joy Con inserted into the side, causing vibration down the legs of the RC car, propelling it forward. (It only works on hard surfaces, and my room is carpeted so I just used the Labo box.)

The RC Car set comes with a cardboard car to follow along with in the instructions, a matching ‘antenna’ to stick on the Switch console, as well as a few extra add-ons and stickers! It also comes with a second cardboard RC car that you can build if you have a second set of Joy Con to use with it. Right now I only have the gray set, but I’m going to get a colored Joy Con set with a birthday gift card. (SIDE BAR: I really can’t decide which color Joy Con set to get! Red and Blue, or Neon Yellow and Pink?? They are both really cool! I wish there was an Orange and Blue option… Leave me a comment on which set I should get tho!!)

You probably wanna see the RC car in action. It’s actually pretty loud. I made a quick video for you to see that this actually works. In the video you can see that I use the Switch console as a controller and press buttons on the screen to make the RC car move – and I can control the left and the right independently if I choose. That’s cool and all, but a little bland, right?

When you complete the initial construction and play through the mechanics, you are taken to the next phase of the Nintendo Labo game, the Discover phase. In this separate section of the game, you can explore some additional features of the new Toy Con you just built, and see some suggested new ways to play. When it comes to this RC Car that I made, did you realize that since the Joy Con utilize built-in IR technology that this RC car also has a fully functional ‘night-vision’ camera?? I didn’t, until I was checking through this Discover section! I used it in the day time but in my photo here you can clearly see the camera POV of my RC Car as it sits on top of the Nintendo Labo box.

There are other hidden features in the RC car, such as the ability to auto-navigate via use of reflective tape. There is also a ‘two player’ mode for people who have a second set of Joy Con. You can build that second RC Car that I mentioned and set up RC Sumo Matches! Or try racing them! Or come up with something else… I had fun freaking out my cat with my RC Car!! lol

OK so now you have your RC Car, and maybe a friend to RC Sumo with, but you still need to add a little SOMETHING to make this more fun? Nintendo Labo also provides a few extras to customize your RC Car. There is a Plow attachment, an Elephant head attachment, and a Sunglasses attachment. The Discover section also shows ideas on how to use paints, markers, and all sorts of materials to really customize the RC car and make it special. As a bullet journal enthusiast, I have plenty of washi tape and stickers on hand. Here is my final RC Car Masterpiece:

My RC Car! Does he need a name??

What do you think of my RC Car? If anyone else has this game and wants to race or sumo wrestle their car, hit me up!! lol

Since Nintendo Labo is so hands-on and mysterious to everyone, I’ll continue to document my construction of Toy Con projects for future blog entries. Unless you totally think this is over-sharing and want me to stop, let me know in the comments about that too hahaha!!

In closing, Happy Earth Day! And Carney‘s Birthday! Plus it’s Nature Day in Animal Crossing Pocket Camp! (Not to mention there’s ANOTHER new feature coming soon in ACPC! I’ll blog about it when it’s released!! Yayyyyy!)

Hands On with the Nintendo Switch!

Woo what a weekend! Everyone has been talking about the Nintendo Switch ever since the presentation last Thursday, which introduced the system and showcased the new Joy Cons – the convertible controllers that come with the Nintendo Switch system. But I felt lucky because I had a ticket for the Nintendo Switch Preview Event in NYC! I was able to get a hands-on demonstration of the Nintendo Switch system, the Joy Cons, software and more!

The event was held at a secret off-site location in midtown, open only to invited ticket holders. (I was able to get a ticket by logging into my MyNintendo account when they first announced the event. This apparently triggered an event invite to be sent to me at the time. So what have we learned? Log into MyNintendo once in a while!) I went with one of my besties, CarneyVorous. We braved the cold wintery weather and it was SO worth it!

20170114_185030As we approached the entrance, we were surprised to see that Link from Breath of the Wild was guarding the door. Well, Link and a dozen event coordinators. Everything was very organized, which was nice. They checked our tickets and finally after long last… WE WERE INSIDE THE SNEAK PREVIEW EVENT!

The event consisted of two large rooms. The first room had a glamorous setup with a main stage, glass windowed demo cubicle setups, and a third of the room dedicated to Legend of Zelda demo stations. The second room had a huge area dedicated to Splatoon 2 demos, as well as third-party titles and a Super Mario Odyssey photo-op station! It was a lot to take in. We didn’t even know where to start! Sadly, the Zelda line got ridiculously long in a short amount of time, so we decided to make the most of our time by trying as many fun demos as we could.

Our first stop was Splatoon 2. Who could resist? To make the experience even more *new*, the demo we played was done on the Nintendo Switch in hand-held mode. This means the player is watching the Switch screen with the Joy Cons attached to the sides. This mode is pretty similar to playing on the Wii U Game Pad, which I personally enjoy a lot. The Splatoon controls were set to use the gyroscope. It can be tricky if you’re not used to playing that way, but the Switch console is light and easy to move around as needed. I also decided to try out the new Splatoon weapon which was introduced in this latest title – the Splat Dualies! I thought they were pretty sweet. They shoot fast and it’s easy to aim. I played very well, got second place in my winning team with those Splat Dualies! (Did much more terribly with the Splat Roller in the second round. Sad face.)

Splatoon 2 on the Nintendo Switch in hand-held mode.

Next, we wanted to get an up-close look at the Nintendo Switch Joy Cons by checking out the glass cubicle 1-2-Switch Demo Stations! The 1-2-Switch game utilizes the Joy Cons in a way that showcases all of the new features it has to offer, including HD Rumble technology. This game is unique in that you don’t really need to look at the screen to play – it’s all about playing with other people, making eye contact, interacting with humans… you know, scary stuff.

The 1-2-Switch Demo consisted of Quick Draw, Milking Cows (yep) and Counting Marbles. Each game showed a different feature of the Joy Con controllers. I will note that the Nintendo reps insisted on using the wrist straps with the Joy Cons for this game. Very sensible – and side note! – the wrist strap adds an extra half inch of width to the controller, which makes it even easier to hold.

Quick Draw showcased the Joy Con’s basics, such as motion control. Milking Cows introduced new ways to feel awkward around your friends (because yes, the game is exactly what you think it is) and also makes use of the L and R buttons that have been incorporated into the new controllers. Counting Marbles was the most interesting game in the 1-2-Switch Demo, because it featured the new HD Rumble effects. The Joy Con simulated the feeling of small marbles rolling around inside of it (and does an EXTREMELY CONVINCING JOB doing so) and you have to guess how many marbles are “inside.” You determine this by moving the Joy Con and “feeling” the marbles sliding around and clicking against one another. It was pretty amazing! The HD Rumble is very responsive and I am very interested to see how other games will incorporate this new technology.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Demo Stations

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Demo Stations

One of my all-time favorite games has always been Mario Kart. I would play after school with my friends on the N64 back in the day, and I haven’t stopped since! Playing MK on the go has always been a strong selling point… so being able to play MK8 Deluxe in full HD while on the move is going to be AH-MAY-ZING! To give us the full experience, Nintendo set up some fun ‘simulation’ demo stations. In the picture above, you see a fake diner with demo stations, as well as some guys in what looks like an RV? Or some kind of van?

Playing MK8 at

Playing MK8 at “the diner”!

Here I am “at the diner” enjoying some MK8 Battle Mode in handheld mode – which I won with Bowser, btw! It’s great to have some authentic battle mode back in the mix.

We also tried out a demo station that was set up to look like we were playing on an airplane. (Awesome idea!!) They set up the chairs to have those awful tray tables, and placed the Nintendo Switch in tabletop mode for us to play. Tabletop mode is when you have the screen standing up with the kickstand, and the Joy Cons are removed from the sides so that two people can use them and play while watching the screen. I will say that as a veteran MK player, I did not mind the Joy Cons for this game. Yes, if you’re using the Jon Cons, it is a small controller. Like I mentioned before, the wrist strap helps a lot with that issue. It takes some slight ‘getting used to’ but it’s not bad at all, and having usable L and R buttons meant that my game play was as good as ever! Please note that in this side photo, we were also trying out Mario Kart with the Joy Cons in what I am calling “nunchuck mode,” which is similar to the old Wii nunchuck and Wii Remote setup… without that cumbersome cord connecting them together! You can play with the Joy Cons as nunchucks, yet sit however you prefer, so that you can play comfortably. So much easier! Imagine how much better air travel will be when you’re challenging the random stranger sitting next to you to a Grand Prix!

We also tried out some other games, such as Street Fighter, Just Dance 2017, and PuyoPuyo Tetris. We got some cool swag – Nintendo Switch hats, pins, cookies, water bottles… It was a really good event. I wish they would host events like this every week! *sob*

Only 44 days until Nintendo Switch is released in stores!! Comment if you’ve got it preordered! What are you excited to play? I’ll leave you with a few more photos from the event…

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Battle Mode

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Battle Mode

Joy Con [puppy] Controller

Joy Con [puppy] Controller

Tetris!!

PuyoPuyo Tetris!!

Nintendo Switch and Accessories

Nintendo Switch and Accessories

Nintendo Switch Main Stage

Nintendo Switch Main Stage

Super Mario Odyssey Photo Op!

Super Mario Odyssey Photo Op!

3 Random Games I’m Playing Right Now

Hey guys! It’s been a while since I’ve posted about video games. My bad. It’s mostly because I’m playing three games right now that are taking up a lot of my time! I still check in with my regular games like ACNL and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire, but there’s three games that are really taking over my life right now.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

I’m a noob to the Monster Hunter series. People have tried to get me into the earlier titles in the series, but I never took the time to try it out. I’d played demos and always thought the controls were too confusing. However, I happen to have the New 3DS XL system and it incorporates the new c-stick camera controls REALLY well. So I decided to pick up the game… I mean, everyone’s playing it! That means it must be good right??

capcom-reveals-monster-hunter-4-ultimate-box-art-a_rsky-1411030846119

At first I felt kinda bad about hunting these monsters. Especially in the very beginning, they have you slaying these really docile and gentle monsters and I had guilty feelings about it. But once you really get into the action, it’s like, “HEY monster – you’re trying to kill me! Let me kill you first!” and I got over the hunter’s remorse. Now I’m really getting the swing of things, and I can’t believe I didn’t start playing this game sooner. I love games that are content heavy and have a strong multi-player aspect. MH4U incorporates both of these things with extensive quest lists that you can play online with friends, aside from the regular storyline missions. On top of that, you can forge new armor and weapons to upgrade your skills and take on bigger foes. And did I mention that you collect KITTIES?? There are these helpers that you can enlist called Palicoes, and they are all cat-like creatures that do amazing support work during battles. Some add more attack power, others replenish health, some can throw bombs, others focus on defense… you can customize your Palico team to suit your style. I love the Palicoes because they add this element of cuteness to an otherwise gory and somewhat violent game. It’s a LOT of fun and I am down to hunt with friends anytime! Evenings are best for me to get on WIFI. 🙂

Story of Seasons

Am I the only one who still wants to call this game Harvest Moon? I can’t get the new title to stick in my brain. Anyway, now that Natsume has parted ways with Marvelous and XSEED, I have to call this game Story of Seasons. Cuz Natsume owns the rights to “Harvest Moon” in America and that’s how it goes sometimes. (BTW, don’t try the new Harvest Moon: Lost Valley game unless you’re into Minecraft, because that’s basically what Natsume has done with the franchise here in the US. It’s not pretty.)

Story of Seasons brings us the familiar art style and gameplay features we have grown to know and love in the HM series. I think this is the best farming game available on 3DS, and that’s saying a lot because I really loved “Tale of Two Towns.” I had some issues with “A New Beginning” due to too much customization. I don’t want to worry about decorating the entire damn town, my homestead is enough thanks! Story of Seasons tones down the customizing to a more feasible amount. You can still craft new objects for your farm and place them wherever you want (the same applies to furniture in your house btw!) but you’re limited to your own fields. However, that doesn’t mean you are stuck with just one field area. A cool new feature of Story of Seasons allows you to compete with other farmers in town for some extra fields that are specifically set up for certain types of crops. For example, my character is renting the Root Crops field area in addition to my main farmland. This allows me to free up some space on my homestead for grains and tall crops, and plant all of my root crops in this satellite field instead. But it’s not that simple, you have to defend your rented fields every season by performing well in contests or shipping lots of goods. Yep that’s right, farming just got a lot more competitive!

I haven’t gotten too far in my game yet, only up to early Summer Year 1, but I’m raising cows, a horse and a chicken (with another chick on the way! lol) along with my crops. You get a lot of space on your farm, and you can build multiple barns, chicken coops and other facilities on the homestead. Basically, if you are unable to rent one of the special public fields, you can still grow all types of crops on your own farm, so no worries! Another great feature is the farming itself. Now you use your hoe to plow a plot that grows up to 9 crops at one time. No more watering each individual crop. Now you just water a plot and all of the crops are saturated. Just makes everything that much easier and less time consuming. Leaves you more time to socialize and find a sweetheart in town! I’m still working on that part… lol

Pokemon Rumble World

This game has only been out for a day and I’m already obsessed with it. This is the Pokemon Company’s latest “freemium” game, meaning you pay nothing to download it, but there are a lot of features and items that you can only get if you pay for premium in-game currency. Since the game just came out, there is a sale for the premium currency so I snagged that. It’s not very expensive either.

I’ve been playing the Rumble series since it first came out on the Wii. I love it! I enjoy the action/adventure gameplay, it’s a nice change from the RPG format of the regular Pokemon games. Plus you can take photos while you play. And its a simple enough game that you can pick it up easily and play a few rounds. As far as the actual gameplay goes, it’s basically the same as it always had been. You press A for one move and B for another (if you have two moves registered) and beat up other Toy Pokemon dungeon-crawl style. A lot of the music is the same too, I have to add.

But here’s what’s new in Pokemon Rumble World:

  • Mii’s! You import your Mii, who can be customized with new outfits. Other Mii’s will start showing up too via StreetPass and SpotPass, who will help you in the game! Some will let you visit areas for a discounted price, others will give you premium currency if you save them from Toy Pokemon, and more.
  • Hot Air Balloons. In previous games in this series, you had areas to navigate, and you selected the one that you wanted to battle. Now you have to ride Hot Air Balloons, which have to be “refilled” afterwards. This is the main time when the “freemium” aspect comes into play. If you want to challenge the same area twice, you’ll need to spend premium currency. Or wait for a set amount of time, which is indicated in the selection screen. This wait time can be over an hour. You also need to spend premium currency to purchase new Hot Air Balloons that will take you to other areas.
  • Premium Currency. Let me explain this a little bit more. I’m making it sound evil. You can actually EARN premium currency easily throughout the game. There are certain (once a day) areas where you can earn premium currency, and you get even more for free if you get a lot of StreetPasses and interact with friends. It seems to me that the game provides enough premium currency for free to get you through the main parts of the game without paying anything. But if you’re impatient or want to wear a specific premium shirt design, that may cost you out of pocket. It’s up to you if you want to spend money!

There are other new features too, but I won’t spoil everything. This game is FREE to download from the eShop right now, so definitely check it out and see for yourself! My only criticism of Rumble World is the lack of a mini map. The top screen gives you arrows that indicate where the Toy Pokemon are, but I preferred seeing them on a map instead. It’s not a huge deal, just one little thing that I miss about the older games in the series.

Well, as you can imagine, I’ve certainly got my hands full here! All three of these games are really fun and it’s always a struggle to decide which game to play. Rumble World is best for short spurts, since there’s that whole time limit aspect. Monster Hunter can be very intense and time consuming, so it’s ideal to play at home when I have free time. Story of Seasons is low key, so I enjoy playing it when I need to relax, or after an intense hunt in MH4U. They compliment each other nicely.

Soo…. what games have YOU been playing??

Animal Crossing & Smash: An Observation

Wii U Animal Crossing Stage

Wii U Animal Crossing Stage

Hey everyone! Super Smash Bros. Wii U is coming out THIS FRIDAY (11/21/14) and I got a chance to play it early at a demo event this past weekend. I was really excited about the new Animal Crossing stage! But when I saw it in all it’s glory… I realized it was a bit dated.

Am I the only one who cares about this? I touched on this a little in my last blog entry. The Villager, the Wii U Animal Crossing stage… everything except for Tortimer Island in Smash 3DS is actually based on Animal Crossing: City Folk, and not Animal Crossing: New Leaf. I guess I’m the only one who thinks this is weird? I’m sure it’s a result of games like these being so content-heavy that production takes years, and when they were working on the Smash game ACCF might have been the only option for the game designers to use as a model. But personally it kind of bothers me! I’m just being nit-picky. I think they should have updated the look of the Villager characters to match ACNL, at least.

super_smash_bros_female_villager-640x360

 

ACNL Female Villager

ACNL Female Villager

Again, notice that these SSB4 Villager characters are short and well, wide around the middle. The female at the end is jumping and you can see her little undies, which was a trademark (and pet-peeve of mine) of the female characters in ACCF and earlier. I was happy when they changed the look of the human characters in ACNL, making them a little more proportionate and girls’ underwear not visible lol! I think this would have been an improvement for Smash players too, because the way the Villager was designed, the character is more of a shorter, child size character like Ness or Toon Link. I would have pictured the Villager as a medium height character in Smash Bros., especially since the villagers are almost as tall as the tall bears in ACNL.

Height comparison - Vllager and Grizzly, courtesy of the awesome Sosostris Blog!

Height comparison – Villager and Grizzly, courtesy of the awesome Sosostris Blog!

Aside from the Villager character design in Smash, my other observation is about the Wii U Animal Crossing stage. (NOTE: SPOILER ALERT!!!) It’s a fantastic stage, excellent for competitive play and incorporates the “rolling log” effect of the Animal Crossing games, which is really cool! The graphics look amazing. So amazing that you can see the Town Gate all the way in the background… wait a sec. Town Gate?? This is a feature from the Animal Crossing City Folk series! In ACNL, there are train tracks, the Train Station and a stairway to the Shopping District at the north-most part of town.

Wii_U_AC_Stage

 

See those adorable Animal Crossing characters that stand along the background of the flat area in the stage? Sure, you might recognize the three pictured here, but during the stage these characters change! I saw Frillard and Serena appear in that part of the stage a few times, and players new to ACNL will certainly not know who they are lol! Plus, you can clearly see a sign for the bus stop, which does not exist in ACNL.

Another feature of this stage in Smash is that you actually follow a bus to the city. It’s really cute! I don’t have any images of that so no major spoilers here but I just think it’s interesting that they chose to model this stage after the Wii game instead of the latest 3DS game. I know it’s not a big deal and I’m a fan of throw-backs too… it’s just not what I was expecting I guess.

Tortimer Island

Tortimer Island

Really can’t complain though. At least Animal Crossing is represented in the game! And we do have Tortimer Island, which is a really awesome stage in Super Smash Bros. 3DS. I love this stage because of the awesome music, its like a remix of the songs Kapp’n sings on the boat ride to the island! Plus you can get eaten by sharks and harvest fruit from the trees. It’s one of my favorite stages!

Wouldn’t it be great if all of the ACNL animal townies were assist trophies? Or all the gyroids?? You know, maybe they should just make an Animal Crossing/Fighting Game crossover series to get more people interested in the franchise lol! I’d play it…

Photo Fun with Chibi Robo!

Before I saw the Nintendo Direct that unveiled “Chibi-Robo! Photo Finder” as a new title from the Nintendo 3DS eShop, I’d never heard of the franchise before.  But I was totally sold on this game as soon as I saw the demos.

Chibi-Robo! Photo Finder is so cool.  It takes advantage of the 3DS’s camera to allow you to take photos of every day objects and turn them into “NostalJunk” that will fill a special museum in Chibi-Robo’s world.  He has some help from a talking iPhone-looking thing, and of course the Curator is around to encourage you to complete your task.  In addition to taking photos, you are able to explore 3D environments (such as a kitchen countertop, or a messy desktop) and do a bit of cleaning, or complete special jobs (via mini-games) to earn Happy Points.  HP is what you use to buy new film, which is what you need to take photos.

Admittedly, this game does suffer from the same issues that any game involving the 3DS Camera faces: lighting sensitivity.  The 3DS Camera is quite dark, so you will need to have really good lighting in order to take a clear enough photo for it to register in-game.  If you don’t have good enough lighting, the game will say that it blends into the background too much.  I had the same problems when I played Spirit Camera.  But as long as you have good lighting, the game works just fine.  You will need fairly good photography skills to make sure that the object you are taking a picture of will fit well enough in the film’s outline!  You are scored on accuracy, and if your photo is under 60% accurate, it won’t count!  It’s not easy, my highest score so far is a 74%…

I don’t want to give too much away, but here’s a few photos from the game.  I think this game is a lot of fun!  There are some repetitive parts when you need to scrounge up more Happy Points, and you start off with only a 50% battery in the beginning of the game, so it’s challenging right from the start.  For $9.99 I think this is a great casual game.  Awesome for when you want to play something quick, or if you want to hone up some creative photography skills!

The shape was a circle, so I took a photo of this electric space heater!

Chibi-Robo is in the power outlet!!

Isn’t Chibi-Robo so cute, peeking out from behind the soda can?

I took a picture of my Pokemon X/Y guide book for this book shape!

Confusion Story

I’ve been a fan of Natsume games for a few years now.  For a while there was really only one game franchise I was interested in: Harvest Moon!  I’ve blogged about my various HM games plenty of times in the past.  I find them to be a lot of fun!  So when I saw Natsume’s huge booth at E3 last June, I was ecstatic to see which new games were coming out!

Hometown Story is the latest 3DS title from Natsume (aside from Rune Factory 4.  I dunno, I never got into Rune Factory.  Maybe I should?) and it looked extremely cute from the game demo I played at E3.  In fact, Hometown Story’s characters were designed by an animator who works on Pokemon games, so I knew I was going to like the art style before I even touched the game.  I think that’s how most people felt.  Until they started PLAYING the game, that is!

Unfortunately, Hometown Story lacks direction.  It lacks any sort of explanation at all.  The game manual does little to explain the facets of the game.  There is absolutely no walkthrough or guide to speak of.  I joined a Hometown Story group on Facebook and found that everyone else is suffering from the same problem.  In Hometown Story, you’re on your own… quite literally.

In Hometown Story, you don’t grow veggies, chop trees, catch bugs and fish… all you need to do is stand in your shop and sell things.  When you run out of things to sell, you wait for a vendor merchant to come into your shop (2PM in-game) and he’ll sell you more things.  If you’re lucky, you might stumble upon some wild edibles if you spare some time to walk around town, but they are hard to find.

The game is basically like a cross between the bazaar aspect of Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar and the shop-running aspects of games like Cake Mania and Diner Dash.  Only, in all of those games, your daily tasks are pretty transparent.  In Hometown Story, what you do is up to you.  However, there are quests that you must complete to further yourself along in the story.  Unfortunately, there is no in-game list of tasks, so if you didn’t take notes on the quest when it happened, you are pretty much out of luck.  Because not only will you have to go blindly to find out who wants to buy some particular item, but you can’t even consult an online guide walkthrough… because it doesn’t exist.  GameFAQs has nothing.  Fogu doesn’t cover this game because it’s not a Harvest Moon game (that was kinda smart of them).  There’s no Prima guide to buy in stores.

Another issue I have with this game is it’s complete lack of connectivity features.  There’s no WIFI, no SpotPass, no StreetPass.  You can’t have friends or visit other people’s shops.  Like I said before, in Hometown Story, you are on your own.

Despite all of these issues, part of me refuses to give up on this game.  I’ve only played about a week in-game so far, and it’s not been what I’d expected.  The online group that I joined doesn’t give me much hope that I’ll ever figure out what’s going on in this game.  I figure I should play through at least a month in game and see if my luck changes.  But I won’t keep my hopes up.  This might be a trade in.  😦

Join Me on Wii Fit U!

Hi there fitness freaks!  This month Nintendo released a gift to everyone who played Wii Fit or Wii Fit Plus for the original Wii.  If you have a Wii U and an existing Balance Board in your house, you can try Wii Fit U for FREE for 30 days by downloading the free trial on the Nintendo eShop!!  After the trial period, all you have to do is purchase a Fit Meter for $20 to unlock unlimited use of the game.  As someone who’s been playing Wii Fit Plus since 2010, I jumped on this deal as soon as it became available on November 1st.

Wii Fit U is the latest installment in Nintendo’s amazing efforts to make a fitness game that actually gets you results.  Using the newest features of the Wii U GamePad, and the innovative technology of the already awesome Balance Board, you can get real feedback on form and balance from your virtual trainer.  Something I especially love is the new Mirror Mode feature, which allows you to use the GamePad’s camera to actually see yourself on the TV (or you can play completely on the GamePad if you wish!) and compare your form to the trainer.

On top of new features like that, Wii Fit U includes lots of fun, new balance games, and improvements to already popular Aerobic activities.  You can now do “Free Boxing” and punch to the beat while watching TV!  There are lots of new ways to personalize your workout too.  And if you are an early adopter of the Wii Fit franchise, you can transfer your old save files and data from the original Wii for a fast start!

Another cool feature is the way that Wii Fit U integrates the Miiverse.  You can sign up for a Wii Fit U Gym Community on Miiverse, and this will post your activities to your friends!  I set up a Gym Community for StreetPass Long Island, but everyone is welcome to join!  As of now, I’m kind of pathetically alone in this Gym so PLEASE won’t someone join my Gym Community?

StreetPass LI Gym Community Code: 7008-8617-8850

Another cool way that Wii Fit U gives you feedback on your progress are all of the analytics that the game provides.  If you’d played the older Wii Fit games, you’re already familiar with the charts that measure your weight and BMI.  But Wii Fit U adds new levels of feedback, such as telling you how much time you’ve spent working on different parts of your body, allowing you to tailor your workout to sculpt targeted areas!

Now I must go into detail about the super Wii Fit Meter.  This is not your average, everyday pedometer.  Sure, yes, it measures the number of steps you take per day.  On top of that, since it’s synced with your Wii Fit U game, it knows your BMI and can calculate how many calories are being burned.  The Wii Fit Meter also includes an altimeter, which measures if you are climbing stairs or a hill and takes this into account with your burned calorie count.  On the Wii Fit Meter, you can view many charts and see what time of day you were being active… and lots of other cool stuff!

fitmeter

OK yes, the Wii Fit Meter is quite reminiscent of the old Pokewalker from Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver.  I kinda want to figure out if it’s possible to swap the faceplates.  While you can’t carry a Pokemon around with you on the Fit Meter, you can see your Mii winking away at you while you run.  It’s much more advanced and I am really impressed with the information it obtains and transmits to your Wii Fit U game.  You can sync your steps and calories burned, so Wii Fit U will account for every single calorie you burn, whether you are playing the game on Wii U or doing a run around your neighborhood.

So please, join me in playing Wii Fit U!  If you have a weight loss goal, this game can help you reach it, and I’m speaking from experience!  And if you are currently playing this latest fitness game, please join my Gym Community!  Once again, the Community Code is 7008-8617-8850!  If you’ve never played a Wii Fit game before, fear not!  Full game, Fit Meter and Balance Board bundles will be available for the holiday season.  Check Nintendo.com for more info!

 

So Much Going On!!

Time sure flies when I’m having fun and being busy as heck!  There are so many awesome games out right now and I barely have time to play any of them.  I actually just quit one of my jobs… OK, I didn’t actually quit so I could play more games, but hopefully it will be a happy consequence.  I’m toying with the idea of working for GameStop, but I hear a lot of horror stories about that job, and the pay isn’t that great.  So I haven’t decided.  Hopefully I can just make ends meet doing my graphic design and social media job.  We’ll see!  Anyway…

Disney Infinity

I’ve made some progress in the different story modes that I have currently in Disney Infinity.  I’ve only actually played the generic Playset that comes with the Disney Infinity Starter Pack, which includes “Pirates”, “Monsters University” and “The Incredibles.”  Honestly, I haven’t played too much of Monsters U.  Not sure if I just need to see the movie to “get it” a little better, or if the rival college hijinks just isn’t doing it for me, or if the other story modes are just more appealing, but Monsters U is definitely the game I’ve been neglecting the most.  Incredibles, on the other hand, is a really fun action/adventure game and while I haven’t played too much of the story mode yet, I’m looking forward to delving into it more.  Pirates, as I mentioned in my last post, is my personal favorite and I’m almost done with the main story in that game.  I just love navigating on a pirate ship and attacking other boats!  Plus the ship customization is REALLY cool, I can make my ship look like it’s a shipwreck, or made out of bones, or look like a British Royal ship… so many options!  That’s why this game is so amazing!

Recently, JDubz and I celebrated our two year anniversary together.  He got me a TON of new figures and sets as a gift!  Here’s the full collection.  I haven’t even opened most of it yet.  The only figures I bought for myself were the “Cars 2” Playset and I won the “Violet” figurine at E3.

Yep, I’ve got hours and hours of DI Playtime ahead of me!!  I got that Limited Edition “Lightning McQueen” silver car at Toys R Us, which seems to be the place to go for DI accessories.  For some reason, Toys R Us is getting a lot of exclusive items for the Disney Infinity lineup!  And I’m not just talking about these figurines, there are also exclusive Power Disc “gold packs” that TRU is selling.  Just this past week was I able to retrieve both the “Tron” and “Mike’s Car” power discs, which are rare TRU exclusives.  They have translucent red plastic instead of clear, and feature holographic images instead of the regular ones you find on normal power discs.  These power discs are fun to collect, but I have assembled quite a collection of duplicates and spares as well.  Here’s my current spare power discs.  Do I have something you need?  Comment or email me to request a trade!  One power disc I have yet to find is “Elephant Abu”, so please let me know if you have an extra you want to trade!

Pokémon Rumble U

As if Disney Infinity wasn’t taking up enough of my spare time, there is also the newest (and last game of Gen. 5) Pokémon game, the third installment in the Pokémon Rumble series.  This latest game, Pokémon Rumble U, is a Wii U eShop exclusive.  Not only does this game blow you away with it’s HD graphics and all 649 Pokémon, but the game takes on a new form with the addition of the Pokémon NFC Figures.  Pokémon NFC figures are only available at GameStop, and they are little mini Pokémon toys that look exactly like the ones in the game.  But what you can DO with them is what makes Rumble U so much more fun – the NFC Figures can be “scanned” into the game via the Wii U GamePad, and then you can customize your NFC figures by upgrading their power and changing their moves!  I really love this new feature, even if it does make the game a bit more expensive.  You really feel like you are a part of the game since you can touch and feel your Pokémon toys and make them your own.  Here’s some of my Pokémon NFC collection:

I have to say, I do have a couple of complaints with the new Pokémon Rumble U game.  My main issue is that this latest game has gotten rid of the different “areas” that, in previous games, your toy character could walk around in and preview what the different boards will be.  Now it’s just a linear list of stages.  Another change, which I don’t mind quite so much, is that all of the stages are now “Battle Royale” style.  In the older titles, there were lots of boards that you just walk through and fight Pokémon, and each area had a boss battle in the arena.  In Rumble U, every stage is a Battle Royale in an arena, and every stage has a boss at the end.  I personally like this change, but plenty of other Pokémon fans had issues with it, so I wanted to mention it.  Another problem is that the toys that you collect in-game cannot be upgraded, customized with moves, or even organized.  The game itself shows all of your collected toys as a huge army that is simply organized by power level.  There is no search function, so if you’re looking for Oshawott and you don’t have him saved as a favorite, it might take a long time to find him out of a sea of hundreds of Pokémon!

Despite these few shortcomings, I am enjoying Rumble U immensely!  I usually play it at JDubz’s house, since I can bring over my NFC figures and play on his system by scanning them in.  It’s also just fun to have a collection of little Pokémon toys that I carry around with me everywhere.  :3

EarthBound

When I’m in the mood to get my RPG on, I turn to EarthBound.  This game is hilarious and has the zaniest enemies to battle!  I’ve been making good progress, and I’m currently “stuck” on a notoriously tough boss, named Master Belch.  The only reason I’m stuck is because I think I need to be leveled up a bit more, and I need to use my Fly Honey.  Plus Jeff needs to get his rocket launchers!  Yeah I just need to be more prepared when I go into battle against Master Belch!  He stinks!

Animal Crossing: Wasabi Village

Of course, when I’m not home playing my Wii U, I’m playing ACNL.  I still carry both my regular 3DS XL with Jubilife City, as well as my JP 3DS with Wasabi Village… but unfortunately Wasabi often is the neglected town.  I usually only sign in to Wasabi when there’s a Japanese holiday, or if I need to check turnip prices, or feel inclined to splurge at GracieGrace.  Last week there was a JP Holiday (we get it in the US too, but on a different date) called Weeding Day!  This is Leif’s only holiday… you know him, the little weird looking guy from the Garden Store!  Unfortunately I hadn’t “prepared” Wasabi well enough for this holiday.  Leif tells you that if you can pull 30(!!!) weeds in town on this day, then he’ll give you a special prize.  I tried, and I counted only 26 weeds that I was able to pull up.  So I didn’t get whatever the special prize was, but I did get this snazzy Flower Screen!

The only other updates coming out of Wasabi is the sad news that King (aka Elvis in the US version) slipped away during the night and moved out.  He was kind enough to send Neko a signed photo, but it’s just not the same!  I feel awful for neglecting my Japanese town and in turn, losing one of my favorite townies.  I don’t have any vacant resident spots in Jubilife, so I think he’s gone for good.  😦  Cue the depressing Elvis classic:

Are you lonesome tonight,
Do you miss me tonight?
Are you sorry we drifted apart?
Does your memory stray to a brighter summer day
When I kissed you and called you sweetheart?
Do the chairs in your parlor seem empty and bare?
Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there?
Is your heart filled with pain, shall I come back again?
Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?

Animal Crossing: Jubilife City

Jubilife, on the other hand, is bustling and busy as ever, with exciting fall holidays coming up on the horizon, such as Halloween and the Harvest Festival.  Earlier this month we celebrated Labor Day, which consisted of Isabelle handing out picnic baskets, and a funny face cutout standee was displayed.

Gracie made her first official appearance in Jubilife City, and I was subject to the first of four Fashion Checks that will allow Gracie to add her store to the Shopping District, which ultimately will mean that I’ll get the Department Store upgrade.  My first Fashion Check was for a “modern” style, so of course I played it safe and wore as many items from the Gracie fashion set that I could get my hands on!

I passed the test and received a Sweets Bookcase.  I really hope to get all of my Fashion Checks done during this season, because the Sweets series is my favorite, and I can’t afford to pay full price for it right now!  Gracie gives you a free item from whichever the current season series is, which is why I hope to finish my evaluations during the fall!  Wish me luck!

My favorite news about Jubilife is the fact that I’ve caught the elusive Petaltail Dragonfly!  This wily bugger is one tough insect to catch.  It’s only available from August to October, from 5pm-7pm daily.  I’d been looking for it in Jubilife for the past month with no luck.  So I figured I’d try to hunt for it in Wasabi instead, and I caught it quickly and easily on a rock!

I was so excited!  Hooray for me!!

Just a head’s up, there’s a holiday coming up on 9/19 called the Autumn Moon Festival.  While this festival occurs in every region’s version of ACNL, every region has a different special item that can only be obtained from that country.  So I am going to open the gates of Wasabi Village from 9pm – 11pm on Thursday night so people can come and get the JP exclusive Autumn Moon item, the “Dango.”  Feel free to join in!  I made a Facebook Event for this, so hopefully you can join me!  See you then!  😀

Midsummer Night’s Blog Post

Whatttt??  The summer is half over??  I’ve been SOO busy with planning events for StreetPass Long Island and playing the steady stream of awesome Nintendo games that keep coming out that I’ve barely had time to enjoy the weather!  (I am ashamed to admit I have YET to go to the beach this summer.)

Before I get into my latest obsessions, here’s a quick recap of what’s going on in Animal Crossing.  I still have to get the latest Best Buy DLC!  AHH I hope it hasn’t expired yet!!

Gulliver is still suffering from PTSD and amnesia…

Gruff wins the award for most random music request AND most cultured townie in Jubilife. I literally had to look this up to understand what he was talking about. For the record, zydeco style refers to Cajun/Creole.

That’s MAYOR Madam Grooville to you! lol

Visiting the island with some Rando’s from Club Tortimer!

Jubilife townies can sleep easy knowing that we now have official police protection! (Or that they might find something they’ve lost in the Lost and Found.)

Existential questions with Vic.

Old Man Phineas approves of my coffee-making skills!

Won second place in the July Bug Off Tournament. I’d like to say that I purposely won second to get the silver trophy (since I already have the gold), but the real reason is that I was traveling that day and couldn’t devote as much time to the Bug Off!

Dizzy proves that he doesn’t have a clever name, but that he’s actually just drunk.

Still can’t afford this crown… 😦

In all honesty, I just have to thank MYSELF for having a second town on my JP 3DS, and my boyfriend JDubz, with whom I StreetPass ever single day. 🙂

Kapp’n shows his support for the 99%. Also, a bit of insight into his problems with the IRS! lol

Visiting with StreetPass Long Island members. And yes I am wearing a Reggie t-shirt in this photo lol!

T.I.Y. Home Store is officially open!

We’re starting to go GREEN here in Jubilife by installing a new Wind Turbine!

BEST NEWS EVER! Jubilife has officially reached PERFECT TOWN STATUS!!

So now you’re up to date on Jubilife.  I will probably write a special Wasabi News entry later on, since I have some stuff to report.  But here’s the REAL reasons I’ve been so busy lately:

  • New StreetPass Games!  Have you downloaded the latest update for your Nintendo 3DS?  The update includes a redesign of the StreetPass Mii Plaza, which features a more “town-like” atmosphere.  More importantly, you can also download NEW STREETPASS GAMES!  There are four to choose from.  “Mii Force” is a classic arcade shooter style game, using your StreetPass friends to supply different weapons depending on their color.  “Flower Town” is a casual collection game in which you have a beautiful garden and your goal is to grow and document as many flowers as possible, with your frequent StreetPass friends turning into Flower Pals who help you to grow rare breeds.  (You can also build and decorate gardens and take screenshots!  See below.)  “Warrior’s Way” brings new life to the classic Rock-Paper-Scissors game and turns your Mii Plaza into a growing ARMY to help you in a quest for World Domination!  “Monster Manor” is a slow-paced nod to Luigi’s Mansion, except instead of Luigi, you act as your Mii trying to find your way through a haunted house, beating up ghosts and saving your friends from unknown horrors… plus it adds a bit of Tetris to it’s game mechanic!  I love these games because there really is something for everyone.  Another added bonus is the introduction of a new form of currency:  Plaza Tickets!  With Plaza Tickets you can “buy” new hats and outfits for your Mii to wear in the StreetPass world.  Each game does come with a price (of $4.99) but all four can be bundled for a discounted price of $14.99.  Obviously I had to have them ALL!  I highly recommend checking them out.

My first garden in Flower Town.

  • EarthBound has come to Virtual Console!  This classic SNES game is a blast from the past brought to you by the year 199X.  Aliens have invaded Onett and it’s up to Ness to figure out WTF is going on!  I never played this game as a child, my first RPG was Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (Nintendo, please bring this to Wii U VC?  Or… dare I ask… make it a 3D Classic??!?!?) and I didn’t touch RPG’s again until Paper Mario.  To be honest, I’d never even heard of Ness until Super Smash Bros. when he was reintroduced as a fighter.  I could never get his Up+B move to work properly, and had a grudge against him.  But I digress.  When EarthBound came out on Virtual Console for $9.99, I decided it was time to learn what Ness was all about.  Plus I’d been hearing nothing but rave reviews about the game for the past month from my StreetPass buddies.  What’s so great about this game (besides the awesome soundtrack, retro-familiar graphics and awesome RPG action) is the tongue-in-cheek humor and over-the-top storyline.  I REALLY love it!!  To show you a sample, here’s a screenshot I posted to my Miiverse profile.

“At times like this, kids like you should be playing Nintendo games.”

I’m sure you guys can understand now why I haven’t been blogging as frequently as I’d like.  But I promise (like I always do… but this time I SUPER DUPER MEAN IT!!) to make a better effort to post my random updates on what videogames I’m playing and stuff.  (Did I mention I also started a new game in Harvest Moon: A New Beginning?  Yeah…)  So tell me, what games are YOU playing?