OMG THE NINTENDO DIRECT OMG

Moments like last night are when I wish I had a Twitch channel so I could have shared my glee with random weebs. Yesterday there was a new Nintendo Direct and it was FILLED with exciting news!! Most importantly…

NEW ANIMAL CROSSING FOR SWITCH IS COMING NEXT YEAR!

But I’ll get back to that in a minute. First, I wanted to talk about all the things I’m hyped about from the latest direct:

  • Luigi’s Mansions galore! There’s a new third game in the Luigi’s Mansion franchise coming out sometime in the future, plus the original GC game coming to 3DS this October.
  • New 3DS Games?!?! Just when you thought that Nintendo was done with the 3DS, they reveal a few new kid-friendly titles like Kirby and Bowser’s Inside Story.
  • Splatoon 2 Updates! I love how they always add new stages and features to this game. It gives me hope that when the new Animal Crossing game comes out, they will add new things just as often as they do in Pocket Camp. Splatoon 2 doesn’t disappoint and their constant game updates really make this game a great value.
  • New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe! Who can pass on the latest version of a Super Mario sidescroller? Plus there are two new playable characters (Nabbit and Toadette) that make the gameplay easier for younger players (or spastic ppl like me).
  • Nintendo Switch Online! It’s finally here! Now we get the pleasure of… paying for online service. Meh. But I’m excited about the Virtual Console library and the prospect of playing those retro games online with my friends. That will be cool! I need to figure out my family plan! lol
  • Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee! They revealed new features, such as your buddy Pokemon being an HM Slave and being able to learn special moves for gym battles. I’m ready to play! But I’ll definitely buy this on cartridge lol!
  • Super Mario Party! This game is coming out soon and to add to the hype, Nintendo showed us that there are ways to play the game that won’t even ruin friendships! You can play in a new CO-OP mode and be on a TEAM with your friends. That should be better for friendships…. right?!?!
  • Yoshi’s Crafted World! I cannot resist Mario’s green dino buddy. I always like Yoshi games, and I love how this franchise has embraced the craft world. I really liked Yarn Yoshi from Yoshi’s Wooly World, and now in the latest game they are adding more crafts to the design, like cardboard and string and it’s just so cute. The design styles of these Yoshi games are beautiful and I can’t get enough! Yay crafts!
  • Civilization 6!!! OMG! I wasn’t expecting this one! I looooove Civ I have been playing it since Civ 2 on Windows 95. I loved playing Civ on the DS back in the day as well, carrying my empire in my bag so I can play whenever I want is so great! I will be SO excited to play Civ 6 on my Switch coming this November! EEEEEE!!!!
  • New LE Switch Consoles! Here come all the cutely designed money-grabbing limited edition Switch systems! Not too long ago Nintendo announced the special Pikachu/Eevee limited edition Switch with custom color scheme and images of the cute Pokemon on the Switch dock. In the direct they showed off a new Smash Bros. Ultimate Switch design. This must mean that more exclusive designs are on the way in the future. Personally, I don’t love either of the two designs, and the fact that the dock is what gets most of the artwork is not a huge appeal to me. But we’ll see… if they make an Animal Crossing edition that I think is cute, I might get that!
  • ISABELLE IN SMASH!!! What??! I wasn’t expecting this at all! I am super psyched to try out Isabelle and make her my new main! I loved playing as Villager in Smash 4, so I would imagine that Isabelle will have a similar moveset. Hopefully she is quick and powerful!
  • ANIMAL CROSSING 2019!!!!!!!! As I expected, once the hype of Smash Bros. Ultimate has waned and Nintendo needs a boost, Animal Crossing will be ready for us to play on Switch! While it’s devastating to have to wait until NEXT year to get this game, I am super thrilled! I’m sure they will slowly reveal more details as time goes by, so my anticipation is SUPER HIGH! Who knows, maybe some of my predictions from my AC Switch Wish List will come true!

As usual, I didn’t cover everything in the latest Nintendo Direct, so I highly recommend that everyone watch it if you haven’t already! So much exciting gaming coming up on the horizon! What are you the most excited about??

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Game Review: Go Vacation!

Go Vacation!

It’s Labor Day Weekend! Do you have any big vacation plans? I don’t! Except of course, my private handheld getaway: Go Vacation for Nintendo Switch! This game is packed full of different activities and mini-games to play. Let’s take a quick look at what the different resorts have to offer.

Marine Resort

I’ve never been to Hawaii, but Kawawii Island must come pretty close in comparison. You get to explore the island using a marine bike, ATV, and a surfboard. Activities include beach volleyball, skydiving, scuba diving, and even a triathlon. You can take a scenic flight tour around the island to see beautiful views, or you can swim around the cove searching for secret treasure boxes. What I especially like about Go Vacation is that you can easily jump from the various activities using a menu, or you can roam freely around the island using your character.

City Resort

If you were a fan of the old Tony Hawk games from way back in the early 2000s then you will like the City Resort. This area gives you a pair of inline skates and a skateboard to roam the city with, and there are tons of half pipes to do tricks and rails to grind on. You gain points towards your character if you successfully complete a trick at any time, whether you are in an official activity or just doing your own thing. You also gain points by completing challenges in each resort, which in the city include activities like street racing, skate tricks, and fun arcade games like whack-a-mole and table hockey. What are all these points for? Unlocking furniture for your customized VILLA, of course!

Yes this game has a bit of everything; my need to design and customize a house is met with Go Vacation’s Villa! (Plus my need to like, own a beachside villa. This way is a LOT cheaper lol!) There are several decor themes to unlock, so there is a lot of motivation to complete ALL of the game’s activities to rack up as many points as I can get. The Villa area isn’t a resort with activities, but I thought it was worth mentioning here.

Snow Resort

For those of us who enjoy winter sports, Go Vacation includes a ski resort on a mountain, complete with bunny slopes and as you climb higher, there are steeper and more perilous options. There is a chair lift, but I like to use the snowmobile to get up the mountain. You can also use a set of skis, a snowboard and a snow tube to get around in this area. Activities range from your typical ski slaloms and long jumps to dog sledding, snowman making and snowball fights!

Mountain Resort

Honestly, I think this area should have been named Ranch Resort, because a lot the activities are what you might find on a dude ranch. You can ride a horse, an off-road car, or even in a kayak in this forest/mountain resort. There are lots of shoot-em-up target practice activities to play, as well as white water rafting, tennis and equestrian sports. Not to mention paragliding, where you can see more gorgeously designed aerial views while hitting balloon targets.

Is that all? No. I didn’t even describe all of the various activities in each resort, you’ll have to play for yourself to learn about everything! But there are also fun little side objectives, like finding all of the bungee jump locations in each resort, or taking photos of all of the animals that can be found on the different terrains. (Yes, this game has that Pokemon Snap element too lol!) There’s also fishing, treasure hunting, photo op spots… Go Vacation truly has all of the things I like!

The only thing that is missing are cats. You get a pet dog in-game (obviously because of the dogsledding activity – guess a kitty can’t pull a sled) but the only cats to be seen are in the City Resort, roaming around… or a giant lion sitting in the middle of the street.

Which resort do you think sounds the coolest in Go Vacation? It’s a great way to take a vacay without paying for airfare! I think the activities are a lot of fun, and is a nice change of pace from some of the other games I’ve been playing lately. I like how the joy con controls aren’t too overly complicated, and I look forward to trying out the multi-player functions at a gamer meetup next week. It’s also worth noting that Go Vacation was a little cheaper than most Switch games, priced at $49.99. I traded in some old games towards the price and I am quite satisfied! If you need a vacation, but only have fifty bucks to spend… try Go Vacation!

 

 

 

Nintendo Fall Forecast

It’s the first day of August! When I was a kid, that usually meant the start of the “Back to School” frenzy of commercials for new fall outfits and hunting for school supplies. Lately, in my adult life, the start of the fall season means LOTS OF NEW GAMES! Why do all the best games come out this time of year? I don’t know. But they do. (I guess to lead up to the holiday season?) Well my body is READY. Is my wallet?

Let’s take a look at some of MY favorite big name Nintendo titles coming out this fall!

8.28.18 – Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate

Capcom’s latest Monster Hunter title (in North America, anyway) is making it’s way onto the Switch! I was lucky enough to play a brief demo of MHGU at E3 this past June and I’ll admit that the game feels very much… the same. As with all the main MH games, you hunt down monsters in a maze of maps, collect drop items, etc. This latest game boasts the largest roster of monsters EVER. All I really hope for in this game is the continuation of what I consider some of the best free DLC you can find. In past games, Capcom would release new missions and fun costumes as free DLC every month, which I think adds new challenge (and VALUE) and keeps players coming back. So far they have announced Breath of the Wild DLC with MHGU, so fingers crossed that the trend continues!

10.5.18 – Super Mario Party

Yes I just glazed over Mega Man 11 (coming out in October as well). I don’t like Mega Man – DEAL WITH IT. And I just promoted Capcom’s other main franchise, so I think that’s enough!! ON WITH THE PARTY! I’ve always played Mario Party. We had it back on N64 in the late 90’s, and my sisters and I certainly have a few favorite mini games. Unfortunately, those games don’t matter anymore because Super Mario Party is all about the Joy Con technology! The latest game in this friendship ending franchise has been revamped for the Switch, including specific character dice, new game board elements and yep – Brand. New. Mini. Games. I imagine that this will be what 1-2 Switch SHOULD have been, meaning an actual, fully-fledged-out game utilizing the inventive mini game options that the Joy Con provide. I’m looking forward to adding this game to my list of party games to play at gamer meetups!

11.16.18 – Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee

Here is yet another Pokemon spinoff that you never knew you wanted but you’re still compelled to buy, despite the apparent lack of exciting game play. Let’s face it, we all just want this game to give Pikachu/Eevee (depending on which game you buy) a dapper new haircut. I’ll admit that I also want the expensive Pokeball peripheral device too. ($35 extra!!) I’m going to buy this on cartridge because I’m very unsure about how much I’ll enjoy this game and need the option to trade it back to GameStop someday. But it does seem promising. I do like chibi Misty. I’m hoping this game is some kind of hybrid between Pokemon Ranger and My Pokemon Ranch (since you can transfer over the mons you’ve collected in Pokemon Go) but only time will tell!

12.7.18 – Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Monster Hunter isn’t the only game that gets to be ULTIMATE in 2018! A new Smash title is stepping into the ring, and yes ok technically it’s not coming out in the FALL per se… but how could I not include Smash? There’s like a billion characters, all the old favorites are back, some new additions are joining the fray, and we have new stages and features to obsess over! I tried the demo at E3 and it was my favorite game at the convention. I can’t wait to learn all the moves of the new characters like Ridley and Inkling, and relearn old favorites like Snake and Ice Climbers. This will be the hot item to buy for the holidays… but let’s face it, I won’t wait til Christmas! Midnight launch at Nintendo NYC Store, perhaps??

Welp those are all the BIG titles that I’m looking forward to for the rest of the year. I know I skipped over lots of other great games, indie games, eShop games, etc! If you feel OFFENDED AND TRIGGERED that I left out your favorite upcoming game, please tell me off in the comments!¬†ūüėÖ

Traveling the Octopaths!

Wow it’s been a while since a game completely took over my life the way that Octopath Traveler¬†(by Square Enix, available exclusively on Nintendo Switch) has done! Before the game’s release, I wasn’t even that crazy or hyped about it, merely interested from what I had seen in the demo. But now that I own it… I’ve logged over 45 hours played. The game only came out 12 days ago.

For those who aren’t familiar with Octopath Traveler, it is a classic RPG style game, using throwback retro graphics with a next-gen twist. I’ve described it to a friend as “Final Fantasy mixed with a Choose Your Own Adventure Novel.” This is because of the game’s unique format – you are given a choice of one of eight characters to begin your story with, and this character becomes your Main Character who cannot be switched out. (So choose wisely!) As you progress in the game, you encounter the other seven characters, and have the option to add them to your party and progress in their separate story lines at your leisure. Each character has different abilities and strengths, making the balance of your team a strategic undertaking.

In addition to this interesting new format, the graphics are so cool. Yes, Octopath Traveler uses retro 8-bit style graphics, but they add elements of layering and focusing that make the entire environment seem 3D and robust. Plus the focus effects make the game look simply BEAUTIFUL. They even added sparkles to the water and the snow to bring it to life. Ugh I can’t get over it!!

Another retro aspect of the game design that I really enjoy is how the boss battles are done. The bosses often have a bunch of cronies or minions to assist them and defend them so they don’t break their shield. But that’s not all – the bosses are GIANT SIZED! It’s epic and fun! They are intimidating yet comical! It’s a great throwback to old boss battles from ye olden dayes. I love the strategy of breaking down the minions to get to the big boss. So much fun!!

Once you have all the characters unlocked, you start to travel the map and follow their story lines at your choosing. Depending on who is on your team, different ‘travel banter’ situations will come up and the characters will talk to each other about what is going on in the current “chapter” of the story. It’s interesting to see how some of the characters get along (or don’t get along!!) and the wisdom they impart to each other. I really like being able to choose the story as I go. You can focus on just following the character stories that you like, or train all of the characters evenly and complete all of their stories. The choice is yours!

Think that’s all there is to the game? NOPE! You can also have secondary jobs. For example, I chose Primrose to start, but she can only do dark elemental damage attacks. I added on the Scholar as her secondary job, which means now she can dole out fire, ice, and lightning attacks just like Cyrus! In the above photo, you might notice that Primrose is wearing a dark Scholar outfit, Tressa sports an Apothecary satchel, and H’aanit is wearing blue Warrior robes. That’s to reflect their second job roles! It’s really fun to mix things up and see what the most IDEAL team might be in a given type match-up.

Sooo 45 hours in, and I’m only starting Chapter 3 stories for my characters. This game gets really HARD once you get through the second chapters, so I’m at the part when you just have to grind it out for a while. I’ve tried to battle that giant poison tiger thing three times and I ALMOST got him last night, but one wrong move and the balance of the battle can swing the other way! It’s no joke. You really have to plan out your strategy!

It may take a few tries to figure out the best way to proceed, but I won’t quit!! Godsdammit!!

If you’re an RPG player and you’re on the fence about this game, definitely check out the FREE demo on the eShop. It’s such a good game. I can’t wait to play through all of the stories! Maybe I’ll do a recap post after I beat the game.

Are you playing Octopath Traveler??? Which path did you choose???

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.

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 Рthe 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??

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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. ūüôā

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.

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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.

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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!