Category Archives: nintendo wii

A pig herder becomes a dutiful wandolier in MySims Kingdom

This might be an obvious statement to make, but with The Sims games, I either enjoy them or I don’t. There’s no middle ground. I first got to play the original game for the PC long after everyone else did, sometime back during my late college days in 2004/2005 or so, and I enjoyed it for the most part, never getting really far with my house or job or relationships with the kooky and nosy neighbors that populated Sim Lane. Speaking of relationships, by the time I started playing this, my then-girlfriend, which we will call the Giraffe, also ate up the game, so much that she bought her own copy, and we would ooh and ahh over each other’s furniture pickings and race each other to upgrade our houses. It was light competitiveness, but it kept the game meaningful. However, I have not touched many iterations after the original.

Of the many spin-offs and iterations, I have played a tiny bit of The Sims 3 on my cell phone, The Sims Social on Facebook until I couldn’t really progress anymore without spending some hard-earned cash, and MySims Agents for the Nintendo DS. Of those three, surprisingly, I am more fond of the latter title, which is part of a sub-franchise of simulation games built around the idea of being kid-friendly and easier to get into. Granted, I rated the game a 4 out of 10, but I can’t fault it for being a more relaxing, sim-like experience. Sometimes you just want to fart around in a world without worrying that you’ll go hungry or set yourself aflame in the kitchen or aren’t making enough money at your job to pay for all that furniture you just ordered.

And so we come to MySims Kingdom. For the Nintendo Wii. Yeah, yeah…I know. On Grinding Down, there has not been a ton of Wii coverage, mostly because I never remember to turn it on and play the games I got for it, but on a recent trip to GameStop, with a buy-two-used-get-one-free deal hanging low overhead, I picked up Katamari Damacy (PS2!), Super Paper Mario (Wii), and…MySims Kingdom. For free. It was free.

To my shock, it’s not bad. I mean, it’s not great, either, but it’s not bad. Most notably, the writing is sharp and pretty funny. You start as a low pig farmer of whatever build you like, whether it’s a boy or girl. You then get thrown into a contest. After which, you are chosen by King Roland to become the new wandolier for the kingdom. It is a wandolier’s job to scour the many islands that make up the kingdom and help people remain happy. All previous wandoliers have passed away or retired, and many islands have fallen into disrepair. It’s a paper-thin story, but it at least gives you a reason to go around helping people with their problems instead of just asking like an overzealous creepo.

Pauly’s friends Buddy and Lyndsay help dish out sidequests, as well as some amusing, if downright silly dialogue. Like, that one time Buddy talked about growing some bacon in the ground, and a little later, while using a metal detector, I discovered a whole bunch of ground-bacon. There’s also a wizard that sometimes says ABBA-CADOOBIE when disappearing; as an Abba, I can get behind that.

I just finished all the tasks on the first island you can go to once you get your boat. This was a Western-themed place called Cowboy Junction. Here, Pauly the Wandolier helped restore an outdoors pizza cafe, a blacksmith, herd Roxie Road’s cows into place, and teach a misinterpreted bandit how to make friends. Aww. It’s all very relaxing–except for the Wii-mote motion parts, like chopping down trees or clinking rocks with a pickaxe in search of gems–and not at all difficult, though the grinding and Simlish can become grating after too long of a play session. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately (I really can’t tell anymore these days), I got this shortly before getting Borderlands 2, so I don’t know when I’ll be back, but when I need to cool my jets, paint some houses green, dig up bacon bits, and collect musical notes from trees, I know just the place.

The missing videogames from E3 2012

Well, E3 2012 has come and gone, and the general reception to it as a whole has been…pretty lackluster. That no one company “won” or really brought out the big guns or even seemed to understand what to focus on. It all felt like padding and skirting around what’s to come and that there’s still no reason anyone should purchase a Nintendo Wii U or feel excited about Internet Explorer becoming available on Xbox 360 for all your non-gaming browsing needs.

A few new games got announced or shown off more, and that’s all good. Truly, many of them look like a whole bag of fun. I’m really interested in Paper Mario: Sticker Star, Scribblenauts Unlimited, Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, Assassin’s Creed III, LEGO City Undercover, The Last of Us, Dishonored, and Watch Dogs. Now, of course, I probably won’t get all of these games when they come out, especially considering some are for the PS3 or next-gen consoles, but they have at least got me thinking about them. Mostly the ones from Nintendo.

However, some games did not appear in any capacity, and that’s a little saddening. Maddening, too, considering a few are–to me, mind you–crazy big properties that could really have had an impact on an audience the size that E3 2012 draws.

Here’s what got no love this year…

Animal Crossing 3DS

Breaks my animal-loving heart, this one. It’s coming out this fall in Japan, which leads me to believe it’ll arrive in the United States by spring 2013, but man. This should have been a launch title. This should have be a post-launch window title. This should have been more than something kept in the shadows, let out occasionally to eat and breath. It’s a game designed around using your 3DS every single day. Think about that. It’s probably being held back to align with the Wii U–whatever, Nintendo.

Fantasy Life

I am really worried about Fantasy Life. It first surfaced in August 2009 with a really charming art style and the promise of living a typical life in a typical fantasy realm. Baker, merchant, priest…your call. Looking back at it now, I see Professor Layton’s London Life in a lot of those screens; unfortunately, that style was not to last, as the game got reskinned for the 3DS, looking different but still touting great gameplay. Nothing new has been reported on it for a long, long time, and so it might be dead and done. Boo.

Slime Mori Mori Dragon Quest 3/Rocket Slime 3DS

Boats. Boooooats! I’ve not yet completed my copy of Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime for the Nintendo DS, but the time I spent with it was a great. Light-hearted Zelda-like action full of puns and crazy tense tank battles. It’s a quirky game that truly deserves a sequel like this. Japan is getting it. Will the United States though? The silence is kinda telling…

The Legend of Zelda Wii U

Nintendo showed some demo-like stuff last year for a new Zelda game on the Wii U. You’d think that some 365 days later they’d have more to show or solidify with that project. Um…nope. New consoles from Nintendo live and thrive on new experiences from their constant standbys Mario and Link, and it just doesn’t seem like that’s happening this time around. Which is, obviously, quite worrying.

The Last Guardian

Guess the devs are still working on that pivotal cinematic scene where your birdy companion dies in a tragic way and somber music plays for two minutes while you use up every tissue within arm’s length.

So, yeah. Hopefully more info on these games will pop up in other places this year. It’s just a shame we didn’t get much on ‘em from the people working on them at E3 2012.

What were you hoping to see this year that didn’t make an appearance?

Disney Epic Mickey: The Power of Illusion for the 3DS is a videogame I now want

Okay, I’m all in.

To start, I found Disney Epic Mickey on the Nintendo Wii to be severely flawed, with horrible camera jank, empty houses that made me angry, and a really slow pace. Charm and atmosphere was there, but that’s it. Which is a shame, as I love Mickey Mouse and animation of golden times and all things Disney–I mean, for our honeymoon, Tara and I geeked out in Disney World for a week, and it was sublime. There’s just something so charming about Disney’s universe, and we’ve had a couple of good games based off Ser Walt’s creations in the past, namely Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Kingdom Hearts.

And so, while wearing trepidation-laden armor, I am excited to see how Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two turns out, what with its focus on co-op and music, but the real reason to be overjoyed that Junction Point Studios is giving it another go is that there will be a retail release for the 3DS…and it’s totally different.

Made by DreamRift, the fine beings behind 2011’s underrated Monster Tale, Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion is a 2D platformer that harkens back to the previously mentioned Castle of Illusion. In fact, some are straight up calling it a sequel. Nothing’s been formally announced, but the Internet has provided a number of game details and a single screenshot scan, and from all that…I’m in. It sounds amazing, and might very well be the third 3DS game I buy in 2012 (the first was Super Mario 3D Land, and the second will be Animal Crossing 3DS). Here’s a couple of bullet points supposedly from the newest issue of Nintendo Power:

  • Use stylus to tap item icons
  • “Paint” (trace) those items into existence to create cliffs, cannons, and floating platforms
  • Use thinner to erase objects
  • Scrolling parallax backgrounds
  • Every level in the game is based on an animated Disney adventure, which includes Sleeping Beauty to Tangled
  • Every character that Mickey saves will take up residence in the fortress that Mickey uses as his home base
  • The witch from Snow White is the main villain
  • Scrooge McDuck, Minnie, and Oswald also make appearances

Did you see the bullet point I highlighted in red font? Check again. I did so because that basically confirms that Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion is part Suikoden. Oh em gee. Give me a base, let me recruit people, and I will play that game, no matter what it ultimately is. I can’t wait to see how the fortress evolves with each cartoony pal that Mickey brings back. People are guessing Fall 2012 for a release date, and I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for more delicious-looking screenshots.

For the love of spritework

I’ve been thinking about sprites lately–no, not those kind–and why I absolutely love them, mainly to the point where a new game in 2011 with classic spritework is much more appealing to me than, say, just another modern title with all the latest tech, such as fancy lighting, particle effects, draw distance, and so on. Yup, even more than Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It’s hard to say if it’s all based on nostalgia or if it’s the artist in me appreciating that these moving images and interactive items on-screen were hand-crafted to be as is, to be simple yet recognizable, to still be able to stir emotions.

For nostalgia’s sake, I definitely grew up on sprite-based games. Earthbound, Super Metroid, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Secret of Evermore, Mega Man X3, NHL ’94, Breath of Fire II, Secret of Mana–really, the list could go on. Blame this on the fact that the SNES was my first console ever, and that I ate up a lot of games on it. It’s where I became a gamer, grew my skills; I knew only sprites, and I had a hard time letting go. I think a lot of us did.

One of the first games I ever played on my PlayStation 1 was Beyond the Beyond, a strangely named RPG that I had rented for a few days. It tells the story of Finn, a young, unexperienced knight caught up in an ancient war between the Beings of Light and the Warlocks of the Underworld. Fairly traditional, and not just in story–the game, despite being released on an advanced console, looked like something one would play on their SNES. I was excited about this. I wasn’t ready for the future, for 3D gaming, for stuff like Battle Arena Toshinden and movable cameras. It wasn’t a great game, but it looked like what I had already learned to love, and that was enough for me to give it a try. I also fell hard for Suikoden and Suikoden II on the PlayStation, both of which feature gorgeous spritework paired with fantastic tunes.

When I moved on to the PlayStation 2, there were significantly less sprite-based games for that system. Maybe because that console had finally gotten a strong grasp on 3D gaming. A few still got my attention. Odin Sphere was repetitive as hecktown, but dang is it a beauty to behold. Marvel VS. Capcom 2 got a lot of play at friends’ houses. Can’t really think of others, unfortunately.

I’ve recently picked Chrono Trigger back up on the Nintendo DS and am enjoying traveling through time again, even if I’m rubbish at it. This is a game that’s eternal. It looks fabulous, just as it had when it released in August 1995, just as it will in twenty more years, and another thirty after that. These sprites are colorful and charismatic, eye-catching, easy to get. Only can sprites make a giant tick-boss look freaking amazing.

And now, in the current era of gaming systems–Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS/Nintendo 3DS–I’m still always on the lookout for good ol’ sprite-based games. And they are still coming out, especially on the handhelds sideline. Really looking forward to Professor Layton’s London Life, which is a bonus add-on for Professor Layton and the Last Specter, coming out this October. It’ll be unlocked from the start, promises over 100 hours of gameplay, and basically screams, “Hey, you like Earthbound? Here’s a new Earthbound!” Mmm mmm, looks delicious.

I dunno. Maybe it is just the artist in me appreciating art over connect polygons. Maybe it’s seeing something that can last a lifetime and beyond. Maybe I just miss being a kid, holed up in my room, a SNES my closest and most constant friend. Do you love sprites or new games still rocking sprites? If so, why? Speak up, Grinding Down readers. Maybe we can get to the bottom of this.

Onwards to another quest for magical treasure

Over the weekend, at my niece’s and nephew’s first birthday party, I was chatting with my friend Kevin, one half of Math the Band, and he tipped me off to a game he absolutely loved, and I was surprised to learn it was for the…Nintendo Wii. Usually, that sort of thing doesn’t happen. The game turned out to be called Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure, and it’s a point-and-click adventure driven by the desire for super booty. Hmm…that sounds a little familiar. And yeah, I know, both touch upon monkeys as well.

So, the very next day, I was out and about at the mall, trying to ignore what day it actually was, and I found Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure for $9.00. I decided to play pirate and be daring and give it a whirl, even though buying Wii games still feels a little shameful these days. Anyways, once home, I checked over at The First Hour to see if this was something I could do some early minutes coverage of, but it seemed like Greg Noe already took care of the game: first hour review and full hour review. I was a little bummed to see he had not fallen in love with the title as much as Kevin seemed, but I popped it into the Wii anyways and played for about 30 minutes.

It’s not bad. The music is nice, but the sound effects that Zack and Wiki make after every single sentence is maddening, and I’m going to have to either play with the game on lower volume or straight up mute that option. I died twice, which is always a rare yet refreshing thing in point-and-click games. I love all the colors and cartoony item design and zany characters, as well as the amount of shiz there is to collect. Not sure how much I’m gonna enjoy waggling the Wiimote for each level, but 30 minutes didn’t drain me. Right. I’m pretty cautious, as it seems this game is the case of “love it” or “hate it” and maybe I don’t ever want to get to that place where I have to stand my ground. We’ll see how it goes, or if I ever even remember to play it again. That happens a lot with Wii games for me…

In a span of three days, I purchased two pirate-themed games. That’s pretty amazing. Don’t bother arrrrguing the point either or ye be walking the plank before the sun sets.

Setting the new consoles loose

Looks like its Spring cleaning time for the videogames industry. Bizheads all over are tossing aside their aging children to make room for newer, shinier ones. Let’s take a look at what’s happened over just the past few days.

Nintendo announced their plans to release a brand new console in late 2012. The device will make its first public appearance at E3 2011, as well as be playable, which starts on June 7 in Los Angeles. Goodbye, Wii, and hello, Wii Wii (or Wii 2 or Wii Are Trying Again or Wii Do HD or whatever they end up calling this mysterious Project Cafe). Not that the company seemed to really care about the Wii for some time, and it looks like The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword will be the last hyped game for the system before its dumped into those bargain bins at Best Buy for kids many years late to the party to pick up for super cheap.

Nintendo seems to also be phasing out DS Lites, stating that once a retail store sells through its current stock…that’s it. No more after that. I guess this is to make more room for the 3DS and the–to some people–stronger upgrade of the DSi. That’s a shame, especially since I consider it my gaming system of choice; many stores and websites seem to still have plenty in stock though, and they are the most affordable version. If you’ve been waiting to pick up a DS, you might want to stop waiting sooner than later.

Sony is also stopping the production of their PSP models. I don’t know enough–or care enough–about that handheld to give you any kind of insight on the matter, but basically, another one bites the dust. More interestingly, Sony is releasing two tablets capable of playing original PlayStation games with updated touch controls. Um…what? Why would anyone want that? I mean, I guess they do more than that, but for some reason, somebody at Sony thought this was an excellent talking point. However, it is not. I barely want to play a lot of original PlayStation games now let alone have to repurchase them and learn new funky control schemes. The only genre I see faring well with this are RPGs because a lot of button-pressing isn’t based on timing or quick reflexes, especially turn-based combat.

I’m kind of glad that Microsoft hasn’t announced a new successor to the Xbox 360 just yet, but I’m sure it’s on its way. Personally, I don’t believe we need any kind of console upgrades just yet, and it’ll be either a hit or flop for this new Nintendo system, which looks like to be launching with zero to little competition. Unfortunately, Nintendo’s systems seem to place gimmicks above hardware, something many gamers are getting tired of, and there’s a lot of rumors circulating that it could have a touchscreen on its controller, but we’ll just have to wait until E3 to really take it all in.

I hope that, at some point, all the companies, developers, and publishers get together and create the Nintendo PlayBox 9000 and put down their weaponry to live, create, and game in utopian bliss.

P.S. All links go to GiantBomb because I’m too lazy to look around for multiple articles. Deal with it.

Games Completed in 2011, #12 – Pilotwings Resort

So, I recently beat Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge, and it’s a game I definitely will have fun reviewing, seeing as it was so much fun to play. However, I did end up finishing Pilotwings Resort long before it–and finishing is a loose term, but we’ll get to that in a moment–meaning I should do these things in order and talk about flying around an island for a bit before we get to sailing from island back to island back to another island.

When I bought my Nintendo 3DS, I felt a great impulse to at least get a game with it. Games and systems, y’know. They kind of go together like…games and systems. Now, fighting games are okay in my book, but I already played a bunch of Street Fighter IV on my Xbox 360, and so the next game that jumped out to me as somewhat decent was Combat of Giant Dinosaur 3D. Nah, just kidding. That title is gonna be extinct faster that those reptilian beasts it represents. My pick was Pilotwings Resort, and I was even alerted by a friendly GameStop employee that I bought the last copy available then for the public lepers. Cool.

I’ve played a small amount of Wii Sports Resorts over the past few years. Or, I’ve at least watched Tara go for a jog around Wuhu Island plenty of times to get a feel for the place. It’s cartoony and safe and colorful and filled with all the staples of a luxury getaway resort, and Nintendo decided to revisit it with the Pilotwings Resort launch title, a game all about flying above, below, and all around. The game is basically a collection of flying challenges, with three standard vehicles to pilot: a biplane, rocket belt, and hang glider. Earning points and doing well in these events will net you stars, and once a certain amount of stars have been reached you can move on to the next group of challenges. These go from bronze difficulty to platinum. The challenges range from flying through hoops and shooting colored balloons to rescuing baby UFOs for the mothership and free-fallin’ in a squirrel suit. They last about a few minutes long each, and you can always replay them to better your score; unfortunately, that only matters for advancing forward as there’s no sort of online scoreboards in place. And don’t bother trying to get better at controlling the rocket belt; it’s brutal and cruel and powered by the blood of some great demon living deep beneath the island’s volcano.

After that, you’ll be able to enjoy some free flying around Wuhu Island. With some limitations, of course. You’re given a strict time limit and a goal of collecting a slew of items: rings, Mii trophies, balloons, so on. It always feels like once you get into the groove of flying around and collecting things, the time limit has just run out. So the time limit is just a way to force replayability into a game already lacking things to do. Plus, different items show up on the island depending on the vehicle you pilot and the time of day. It’s a little ridiculous.

Unfortunately, that’s it for the game in terms of things to do. The graphics are on par with its Wii first cousin, and the 3D works perfectly for me when just up a teeny tiny bit. I tried turning it all the way up, but quickly found myself disoriented, especially since I had to constantly look away from the top screen to the bottom screen for its handy map. The music’s fun and chirpy, especially when you make a great landing, but otherwise doesn’t stand out as anything perfect.

If Pilotwings Resort had been included free with the Nintendo 3DS–like Wii Sports was for the Nintendo Wii–it’d be a much better game. At $40.00, it’s not long enough to be enjoyable, and this plastic flight lands before you know it, right back in its case, right back in your box of games you’ve played and will probably never play again.

30 Days of Gaming, #6 – Most annoying character

Hmm…something about this feels familiar. Oh, right. That’s because last November, I wrote up a little post about my top five most annoying videogame sidekicks, focusing in on the sidekicky aspect of the business. I mean, adventuring into the unknown is one thing, but doing it with a chatty brat is another. Sure, any of those could easily get smashed into bits by today’s 30 Days of Gaming topic train, but I decided to think some more and found a few other contenders. And we’re going with Tom Nook, simply for his sheer audacity to never, ever change.

Tom Nook is a raccoon tanuki that runs a shop called Nook’s Cranny in your town in all versions of Animal Crossing. He starts out as a nice fella, giving you a home to live in. One small caveat though: you’ll have to pay him for it, and he’s okay with payments over time, so long as you eventually pay it off. Once you do, he’ll expand your house, opening up more rooms to decorate…so long as you keep paying him, too. That’s fine. That’s kind of how it works in real life, minus the talking raccoon, I think.

Where he gets truly annoying is in his shop. You enter Nook’s Cranny (clean thoughts, dear readers!), and he welcomes you, and gives you a list of options. You do your things, peruse his wares, and leave, but not before he can get the last word in: “Thank you! Do come again! I look forward to seeing you!” You can never just enter and leave uninhibited, like countless RPGs that let you waltz into that potions shop, knock over some bottles, and leave before anyone notices. No, not at Nook’s Cranny. Not in Nook’s book. He will greet you, he will part with you. He never breaks form. He’s like that Obama smile video. He’s like braindead. He’s like…overtly annoying.

And then he follows you around the store, like a used cars salesman, like a true furniture pusher, like an ex-lover with a vengeance. You can run rings around his desk of player tools, but he’ll catch up to you eventually. Unfortunately, the only way to determine what some of the wallpapers/carpets are is to ask him, and you have to then mash the buttons until you can get him to stop.

You want more? Evidently, after you’ve fully upgraded his shop to Nookington’s, Tom will randomly ask you some questions, and the wrong answers will result in him downgrading the store back to its original format. All that shopping…for nothing.

I’m pretty excited about all the possibilities that Animal Crossing 3DS could hit on the head, but if Tom Nook is around, well, I’m gonna be several hundred thousand bells short of excitement.

March 2011’s flotsam and jetsam

It seems like, at least a few times every year, I am a little overwhelmed with multiple games at once and little time to play ‘em to their fullest. Such is March 2011 then, a month where I’m playing three to four new titles, as well as working on older games or miscellaneous purchases. Throw into the fight the fact that I’m also scrambling to get Supertown minicomics drawn and printed for MoCCA 2011, and well, yeah, there’s a lot to juggle. Here’s kind of a short rundown on what I’m currently playing:

Torchlight (XBLA)

Right. Diablo II on a console, but much more cartoony and fast. I’m digging it, and normally by now I’d have written up some early impressions of the title, but the truth is that I’m almost at the end, meaning all my big boy thoughts will have to wait for the final review. Still, I like a lot of it except for one big caveat–the tiny font size. And when a game stands on a mechanic such as loot, being able to read and compare magical spears is vital. I’m pretty sure I’ve sold a lot of excellent gear simply because I couldn’t read what it did or its requirements for wielding.

Pokémon White (Nintendo DS)

Only have two gym badges so far, but that’s okay. It’s not a race, no matter what my rivals say. I like finding a good team of ‘mon and then training them to be, roughly, around the same levels. Right now I’m rocking Victini, Snivy, Timburr, and Audino, and the other two spots haven’t been truly filled yet. I’m giving that trash bag Pokémon a chance though since many others probably won’t. Its Sludge move is pretty good. But man, oh man…it’s a trash bag?

Radiant Historia (Nintendo DS)

I was stuck for awhile in this one, unsure of which timeline node to jump back to, but Greg Noe steered me in the right direction. Now I’m working my way through the Closed Mine in hopes of learning a sword dancing move from somebody to help Stocke progress with a circus act in the alternate timeline. Yeah, it can be a bit confusing. Still, the combat is fantastic. Really do need to schedule more time with this one.

Fallout: New Vegas – Dead Money (Xbox 360)

Having now beaten this game twice, my second character, an evil woman named Zelda that loved hitting enemies with s-weapons only–sticks and shovels and sledges–was perfect for attempting the DLC add-on again. My first fly with Dead Money didn’t go very well. But it’s going much smoother now that I can handle the Ghost People more effectively, as well as heal better from radiated food. Just finished gathering Dog, Dean, and the mute. Now to get each of them where they need to be…

Penumbra Overture (Mac)

Started this on a whim, and have only played a wee bit of it, but I dig its mood and atmosphere and the way opening a drawer feels. Seriously. It feels good, true, like I’m actually doing it myself and not with a mouse. I would have loved to see this technique used more in games like Fallout, as it makes searching a room actually feel like searching. There’s a special kind of warmth that comes from opening countless empty drawers and then opening one to find batteries there, yours for the taking.

FlingSmash (Nintendo Wii)

Every week, usually Friday, sometimes Saturday night, Tara and I go visit her brother to play some videogames. We call it “games night,” and we focus mainly on all things Wii (but I swear to teach him Munchkin before too long). Wii Sports Resorts is so much fun with a good group, but two players had to share one remote, and I got tired of this after several weeks. So I purchased FlingSmash, which is basically a Wii MotionPlus controller ($40) with a game thrown in for good measure ($10). The game is just an excuse to shake the remote around, but I hope to examine it more closely soon.

::deep exhale::

Whew. Too many games. There’s the possibility that I’m not even writing about more.

Also, a friendly reminder that by the end of this month I’ll also be picking up Monster Tale and a Nintendo 3DS…so yeah, more to come. Woe is me? Naaaaaaaaaah.

Stumbling into Animal Crossing’s pitfall yet again

Hi, my name is Paul, and I used to be heavily addicted to Animal Crossing: Wild World. It was the kind of thing that overtook me swiftly, silently, softly; I would go to bed playing it and wake eager to play it again. My lunch hour was not about eating food, but rather using that time wisely to interact with my town’s villagers, find fossils, and collect whatever bugs/fish were only available at such a time. If asked what my Saturday night plans were, I’d have to figure out a solid way to lie and not reveal that I was going to see K.K. Slider play and get a new song for my red boombox.

Yes, it was that kind of addiction, but I did eventually overcome it. This was, naturally, only after I had done everything possible in the game: 100% bugs found, 90% fish caught (curse you, Coelacanth!), all fossils found, all true paintings donated, a good percentage of my item list filled out, house fully paid off and filled with kick-ass furniture. All that and more. Deep down, despite still playing it even after the fact, I knew the magic grip was loosening, and eventually I did wean myself away, passing the cartridge on to Tara to get addicted to.

At some point last year, my wife got Animal Crossing: City Folk for the Wii, and I watched her set it up, doing the same meaningless tasks for Nook to get started. It didn’t look any different gameplay-wise than what I had already spent a year obsessing over, and so I ignored it, uninterested, disappointed, especially with the slim new offerings like going to the city. I decided to wait for a true sequel.

And then something happened a few months ago: I started to play it every day or so, only for about 15 minutes. It’s a great distraction. It’s a nice change of pace after stabbing assassins or shooting aliens or staring at RPG stat screens for far too long. I told myself that it wasn’t a race, and that if I didn’t pay off my house as soon as possible that the (animal) world would not end. I found myself enjoying just running around and methodically rebuilding my collections (only going after what I wanted then at the moment versus buying everything just to have everything), and once I started gathering Mario-themed items from floating presents, well, I knew I was back. At least for a bit. Until the Nintendo 3DS version drops, of course:

Granted, the magical hold is definitely not as tight as before, but I am excited now that winter has ended in-game to get my net out and collect some fun insects.