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…

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Smash is Back!

The return of Mayor Gluxie.

Mayor Gluxie had been missing from Jubilife Town in ACNL for quite some time. Weeks, months probably… Isabelle was up to her doggy ears in paperwork trying to pick up the slack. Where was Mayor Gluxie? There wasn’t much of an excuse for the absence all summer, but in the past month, Animal Crossing Villagers had been spotted in another popular Nintendo title.

Where the Villager has been…

OK, so maybe you pro’s might notice that the Villager pictured here isn’t really Mayor Gluxie. Let’s just go with the suspension of disbelief ok? They didn’t make Mayor Gluxie’s face type an option in Super Smash Bros. 3DS lol! Also, I don’t know if anyone else noticed this but the “sprite” of the Villager character still maintains the fashion style and proportions of the ACCF/ACWW Villager, note that you can see the female Villager’s undies – something that was done away with in the newest installment of the game. The Villager is also not as tall and slender as in ACNL. Am I the only one who cares? Probably.

Since the release of Super Smash Bros. 3DS on October 3rd, I’ve been playing this game practically non-stop. When I need a dose of nonviolence, I’ll switch over to ACNL, Harvest Moon or Tomodachi Life. But that usually doesn’t last long before I start jonesin’ for some more Smash action. I’m really enjoying the latest Smash Bros. game, there are a lot of new features and game modes. Plus… you can take SCREENSHOTS! I’ve decided to turn Smash into my own personal Pokemon Snap Redux. I’m going to start taking photos of every Pokemon and build myself a Smash Pokedex. And of course, I’ll only use the BEST photos, only the ones that would be up to Professor Oak’s standards! Save that for a future blog entry… lol!

Pokemon Snap Smash!

Overall, I have a ton of things I love about Super Smash Bros. 3DS. The updated graphics look amazing, the new characters add more options and being able to customize them really opens up the playing field in the competitive scene. I love the multiplayer options – from the original Smash mode to Smash Run and don’t forget the 2-Player games like Multi-man Smash! Since the game is now portable, it’s even easier to participate in local Smash Tournaments in the area. I recently went to a tournament in NYC and we dressed up in Smash Bros. cosplay. It was so much fun!

Smash Bros. Cosplayers!

I might not have won the tournament (wah) but I did make it to the second round, and I got a decent number of KO’s. I just need to keep practicing. If any of you out there want to battle, hit me up on Twitter – @gluxbox!

If that wasn’t enough gaming for you, there are three cool titles coming out THIS FRIDAY (Oct. 24th)! Coming to stores is the adorable Fantasy Life, which is another open-world style game with a bit of action and quests thrown in. Also coming out on 10/24 is Pokemon Art Academy so we can learn how to draw some of our favorite Pokemon – and I hear each game comes with a demo code for Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby, which is coming out this November! Not to be forgotten is Bayonetta 2 releasing this Friday for the Wii U, which has really cool dark graphics and a lot of magic and dragon-filled action/adventure (check out the demo on the eShop now)! I’m definitely picking up Fantasy Life on Friday… the others might have to wait. Too many games, my wallet can’t handle it lol!

What games have YOU been playing lately??  😀

Ready for Setsubun!

UPDATE ON WASABI:

Fans of Wasabi can breathe easy.  It seems that Wasabi is no longer in imminent danger of being destroyed!  I did a bit of research on my game loading slowly, and saw that I wasn’t the only one experiencing similar problems.  I was reading some different forums, and many suggested that perhaps the SD card was to blame.  I investigated this a bit, by playing some of the other apps and software that I have stored on my JP3DS’ SD card.  Every other game I tried ran fine, and there were no more issues regarding the A button acting strange.  I determined that it couldn’t be the SD card.  (For the record, I’m using a Lexar 4GB SD Card.)

More research turned up this forum thread, which was very interesting.  The original thread creator describes that he is facing a problem that is almost identical to mine, only my game wasn’t crashing, just taking a long time to load.  This poster describes how it could be a digital software issue, an SD card issue, and then there was one more factor that he described in his thread:

Wow, just wow… My town crashed for the sixth time today, 3 days after I formatted that SD card into FAT32. When it happened, I was playing online with two other players in my town with the “Best Friends” function activated and my town has quite a lot of bushes, flowers, trees, and whatnot… Most of the other towns I visited are usually less jam-packed than I do. It might be due of the complexity of my town for raising the crash rate over time.

This post got me thinking about Wasabi.  What was different about Wasabi as of late that would cause it to act differently than it had in the past year?  Ohhh right… Wasabi was completely overrun with bamboo at this time.  Then I started thinking about how Animal Crossing save files have been notoriously large (remember how you needed an entire dedicated save cart to run AC: Game Cube?) and maybe all that bamboo (plus everything that comes with bamboo, such as new spawned shoots/cracks every few days, loads of rotten shoots that didn’t have the room to grow into real bamboo, which I hadn’t been shoveling up) was causing the load time to slow.  Think about it, the game has to render all of the townies, houses, flowers, bushes, public works, your full catalog… and now I was forcing it to render hundreds of bamboo stalks, shoots, cracks and rotten shoots all over my town.  It sounded like a VERY plausible cause.

So I did what any reasonable person would do.  I grabbed my golden axe and went on a rampage chopping down all the bamboo!  I left all of the bamboo stumps because they look pretty cool, like wierd mini warp pipes or something.  Guess what?  It seems to have done the trick!  As soon as I saved Wasabi with it’s new “bamboo stump” style, the game loaded up much more quickly!  What a relief!

My advice: While it’s awesome and fun to decorate your town with all of these new features like shrubs and bamboo and public works, remember that aesthetically (and apparently from a coding perspective) less is more.  You don’t need to have something in every single square inch of your town.  In fact, doing so seems to kill your game!  I don’t know if anyone had the same issues with a cartridge, but at least if you have a digital download, use caution!  But personally I think it was the living bamboo with all of the spawning and rotten shoots that was the main issue in my game.

Having said all of that, the good news is that the Setsubun Festival is ON!  If you are still interested in participating in the festival, which I will have open in Wasabi on Monday 2/3 from 9PM-11PM EST, please visit the event page here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1461491234064525/

The main reason I ask you to RSVP on the event page is so that I know how many to expect.  If I don’t have it already, please comment on the event page with your friend code so that I can add you to my system.  I will also be trying out a new format for this JP event.  Using the StreetPass Long Island Twitch Channel, I will be streaming this event live on the internet.  Hopefully this will make it easier for people to see who is coming and going, and when they should pop in.  Our Twitch channel also has a chat room, so hopefully the power combo of a live stream AND a chat room will make the experience a little smoother for everyone.  Keep in mind that the chat room on Twitch is not compatible with iOS, so you’ll want to be on a real computer to participate in that way.

Hope to see you all there!  Fingers crossed that we won’t have any more loading problems in Wasabi!

Crisis in Wasabi!!

Over the weekend I attended Apex 2014, which is the world’s largest Super Smash Bros. Tournament.  JDubz and I assisted in running the StreetPass Plaza Arcade at Apex, which was run by StreetPass Long Island, StreetPass NYC and StreetPass Princeton.  We offered Pokemon battles on a big HD TV screen provided by JDubz, and SPNYC was running Wii U tournaments.  This was all in addition to the official tournaments running at Apex!  The weekend was a lot of fun and we met lots of cool new people.  However, there was one problem: My JP3DS was having issues with ACNL!  D:

I think it started on Thursday but I didn’t pay much attention.  I had turned on my JP3DS to see what was new, and it took longer than usual to load up the game.  It wasn’t freezing or crashing, but the little “load train” in the corner was driving and driving and the game took about a minute to load.  At the time I didn’t pay much attention, I just put the 3DS down and did something else until I noticed the title screen come up and I could play.

However, at Apex I turned on my Japanese ACNL and it had the same issue.  But this time, it was several minutes before the game would finally load.  When the game finally did load up, I was walking around as Neko and she was carrying a tweeter.  As she ran around, she would randomly stop to blow the tweeter, but I hadn’t pressed A.  It was just going on it’s own, every few steps she would stop on her own and blow the tweeter as if the button was stuck.  But the button wasn’t stuck!  I had no problems loading up and playing my StreetPass games on the JP3DS so it seems that it must be a software issue.

We thought maybe I should try to update the software, or see if there was a “Fix Software” button in the eShop.  That will be hard enough of a task, since it’s all in Japanese.  If it’s a hardware issue, then I’ll really be out of luck.  But so far, there is nothing to indicate that the hardware is malfunctioning.  I have a digital copy of ACNL on my JP3DS, so worst case scenario I might have to delete the file and re-download it.  You all know what that means though… that would be the end of Wasabi as we know it.  I’d have to restart my game.  (NOOOO!!!!)

Yesterday I decided that if I do have to re-download the game, I needed to rescue the rest of my non-orderable items from Wasabi, such as the Campus DLC furniture and 7-Eleven items that were given to me by a friend.  These are all rare Japanese items that you can’t order from the catalog.  So I hoped for the best and started up my JP ACNL.  For some reason, it loaded slowly but not as bad as it had been on Saturday at Apex.  It only took about a minute, I guess similarly to the first incident that I described.  I had Neko purge her house of all her treasures, including her throne, which was kind of sad.  Every time a loading screen appeared, I flinched.  I don’t know when it might crap out again!  Then I used my American ACNL to take the items out of my JP3DS to a hopefully safer place.

…Did I mention that I have a third town?  JDubz gave me his ACNL cartridge and I started up another town called SPLI.  I haven’t finished setting it up to my liking and thus have not given it an official “reveal” here on the Glux Blog yet.  (Sorry about that, someday soon!)  Anyway, all of the rare JP items are now safely stored on the ACNL ‘cartridge town’ SPLI.  I figure if the digital copies of games can somehow become corrupt, maybe the safest place for my rares is in SPLI.

Since the loading time on the JP3DS wasn’t too bad yesterday, maybe I won’t have to delete and re-install ACNL on it after all.  I won’t delete it until absolutely necessary.  I just wish there was a way to back up your save file on the SD card or something.  ACNL has always been like this, I had a similar scare back in 2009 when I had to send my Wii in for repair.

Anyway… so assuming Wasabi doesn’t cease to exist, there is a JP event coming up in early February that I’d like to invite everyone to attend!  It’s Setsubun, or the Bean Throwing Festival on 2/3!  I’ll have to do the event at night after work since it’s on a Monday.  I’m thinking of streaming the event live on SPLI’s Twitch TV channel, so if I do that I’ll be sure to give you guys the link.  Otherwise, if you’d like to attend, please join the StreetPass Long Island group on Facebook and RSVP to the event page for Setsubun so I know to expect you there!  Don’t forget to add my JP3DS Friend Code (check my Friend Codes link here on the blog) and let me know your FC too if you’d like to join in!  You’ll get a free Ogre Mask for stopping by, courtesy of Shizue (aka Isabelle) and the Wasabi Town Hall.

Got Your Mushrooms Ready?

I hope you’ve got your mushrooms ready, because the Harvest Festival starts tomorrow in AC:NL!  All November long, mushrooms have been sprouting up at the bases of fruit trees, and some of them are actually hidden pieces from the Mush Series.  I’ve been trying to collect the Mush Series all month, and the only thing I’m missing is the Mush End Table.  Does anyone have a spare they’d like to sell or trade?  I keep getting Mush Lamps while mushroom hunting, so if you need a Mush Lamp be sure to comment and let me know!

While some of these mushrooms might earn you a pretty penny (or bell, I guess?), try to hold off on selling them all.  Your townies might request a mushroom for their holiday meals that they’ll be cooking for the Harvest Festival!  Be prepared to give away plenty of fish, fruit and mushrooms to appease the townies, it’s the only way to collect all of the exclusive items for the Harvest Festival.

The big tree in the Jubilife Town Plaza has lost all but two leaves!  Don’t the AC:NL towns look so cool in the autumn season?  I love how the grass is gradually changing color… can’t wait for it to turn to snow!  It won’t be long now… and then the REAL fun begins!  Get ready for Snow Papa, Snow Mama and the rest of the family to take over your AC:NL waking life…  But for now, I wish everyone a fun Harvest Festival, as well as a wonderful real life Thanksgiving and/or Thanksgivukkah!

In other “mushroom news,” Super Mario 3D World was released last week on the Nintendo Wii U system.  I haven’t had a chance (or the money) to pick it up yet, but I did play a demo at New York Comic Con.  If anyone out there would like to submit a guest blogger review for SM3DW, please comment or email me and we’ll make it happen!

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!  😀