Monday, March 28, 2011

Generic "3DS has arrived" article, with pics

Yes, I got the new Nintendo 3DS. See picture above.

I also got Super Street Fighter 4: 3D edition. It is also in the picture above.

Can I play now? What? One more pic? Alright.

Who reads these kinds of posts anymore anyways?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Portable gaming = casual gaming

Let's face it - if you ask people what their favorite casual game they like to play is, most will answer some Facebook game. It's simple, it's fast, and it's only a separate window or tab away from instant 5-minute bursts of gameplay. But what about the other times when you're not smack-dab in front of a computer or laptop? Then you turn to a portable device.

Whether it's a DS, PSP, or even just the iPhone, portable gaming has been engrossing us for some time. And what better way to kill a few minutes on the go than just messing around in some mindless gameplay? But today, I'm not talking about the simple games that you can get away with for minutes at a time - I'm talking about whittling down full games.

You are either a gamer that can sit down for hours and play one game straight, or someone like me, who can only afford to play a game every few minutes. And what you can do in those few minutes, depending on the game, can be limiting. But it seems that many games (whether directly or indirectly) realize this, and portion their game to smaller, bite-sized pieces. They know that portable gamers will have to take out their system, boot/wake it up, get comfortable, and be patient long enough to sit through the intro to play a few minutes more of their games. Please note this - the longer you make gamers wait for the game to load, the higher the chance they'll just turn off the game completely.

Since my time is so scarce, there's only a couple of games I'm currently playing that can optimize what little time I have.

Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days

I continue to play Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days on the DS, spurred only by the thought that the game is canon to the story. Unlike the larger-scale games on the PS2, this DS addition is portioned out in a series of missions that I can choose whatever order to tackle them with. Most of the game has you in a central hub talking to other NPC characters and such, and the other half is embarking on missions that can be as short as 2 minutes - perfect for a quick break. It's these little bites at a time that I'm progressively making progress in the game in hope that I'll finish it soon so I can start up Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.

Pokemon White

Pokemon is one of those games that cater to both hardcore and casual gamers. Hardcore players can (and will) sit for hours leveling up their pokemon to ridiculous levels and clear the game in a solid week. Casual gamers, like myself, will probably take the minutes that we have and engage in the short random battles you encounter in the wild, which can last seconds. So, in 5 minutes worth of time, you can polish off good 20 battles if you're powerful enough.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pokemon: an unexpected ordeal

This past Sunday was host to the release of Pokemon Black and White on Nintendo DS, and normally I wouldn't care so much. The last time I played a Pokemon game was Pokemon Platinum, and even then I couldn't get into the game. Maybe it was all the micro-tasking, or the extra quests. So what would compel me to try it again this time around? Rare pokemon.

GameStop had a promotion where you could download Celebi, a rare pokemon, into a previous Pokemon DS game, and the last day for the promotion was this past Sunday - the same day as the launch of the new Pokemon Black and White. In a moment of hesitation, I bought a used Pokemon DS game Saturday to grab Celebi, with the intent of returning the game for a full refund within 7 days after I transfer it to the new game. I even placed a pre-order for the game at GameStop just in case, because my original intent was to pre-order the game from Amazon and get their $10 Gift Certificate.

Then things got complicated.

I thought the transfer of Celebi to the new game would be as easy as turning it on and sending it on its way. Turns out the method of travel would not be unlocked until I earn the first 2 badges. Second, Amazon's delivery of the game (even with 2-day shipping) was scheduled to arrive on Wednesday. Given my already complex work schedule and the 7-day used-game return policy,
earning 2 badges before Saturday was gonna be a feat for me. I had no choice; I bought the pre-order from GameStop.

The way I see it, if I get a 2-day head start in earning the first 2 badges now, I can spread out my gameplay time. At the same time, when my Amazon order arrives, I'll simply use THAT game as my return to GameStop. Hopefully by then, I'll have achieved 2 badges by then, granting me access to the device that will finally allow me to transfer Celebi to the new game, and giving me the green light to get a full refund on the used Pokemon DS game I purchased just to get the free Celebi pokemon in the first place.

Easy, right?