Tag Archives: simulation

Animal Crossing 3DS and what we know

When the Nintendo 3DS and its potential blockbusters were first announced, the forthcoming game I was most excited for was Animal Crossing 3DS, which is not its official title, but could probably end up being so. The no-battery life handheld came out in March 2011, and GameStop, along with a number of other retailers, were claiming that the next iteration of the cutesy, addicting life sim was slated for Fall 2011. Right, so it didn’t make the launch lineup, wasn’t primed for summer, but an autumn release wasn’t too far off; I could wait. And I have.

Currently, it’s late January 2012, and there’s still no Animal Crossing 3DS. When’s it coming out? Who knows. There’s nothing. Nintendo is being extra quiet about this game–and I have absolutely no idea why. Just tell us it’s true name and when we can expect to play it. Simple as that. A new tentative release window says Summer 2012, but I no longer trust anything unless it is backed by Nintendo reps themselves.

Okay, I guess we do know some gameplay tidbits, which are enough to nibble on, but I’m hungry. I’m ready to eat. True fact: I’m always ready to eat.

The biggest gameplay detail that is known is that you are no longer a mere resident of the animal-filled town you come to call your own. No, you are its mayor, a man or woman with power and dominating control. It’s not clear if you start out in this role or have to earn it by a number of miscellaneous character-building tasks, but whatever. And as mayor of all of Hobbitontown, you’ll certainly need some assistance. So, meet your new, private secretary:

Aw, she’s kind of adorable. And nameless currently. Alas, rumor has it that she can be extremely clumsy, but her role remains vital nonetheless. As your secretary, she’ll help point out parts of the village that look particularly good and parts that may need some extra work. So if there’s ever a lull in your daily minutiae, check in with her and find out what you can be doing to improve your town and your ratings before the re-election circuit hits.

Everybody’s arch-nemesis from previous Animal Crossings is back, but this time wearing some new attire. That’s right. Tom Nook is no longer selling stock. Instead, he’s selling houses. Not sure what this ultimately means, but maybe it has something to do with StreetPassing other towns. I suspect that you’ll still have to deal with him on a daily basis for some reason or another. I mean, he sells houses, and you’re in charge of a bunch of houses.

Other confirmed tidbits in a nice bulleted list because I’m getting tired of trying to think of interesting ways to phrase all of this:

  • Benches and outdoor items, such as lamps, are now available
  • Nintendo-themed items aplenty
  • Players can go swimming
  • Customization of the outside of houses is now allowed, and we’re not just talking about changing the roof’s color
  • You can live in a tent
  • Furniture customization to rule all
  • There’s a mall, which I guess is akin to visiting the city as in Animal Crossing: City Folk
  • You can take your shoes off
  • YOU CAN TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF
  • YOU CAN TAKE YOUR F*CKING SHOES OFF!!!

Woah.

Well, that’s all I got for now. I’m tired of speculating. Just give us some dang, honest-to-goodness solid details, Nintendo. I promise you, no matter what you say, I am buying this game the day it comes out. I just hope it comes out soon.

30 Days of Gaming, #15 – Post a screenshot from game you’re playing right now

I’m gonna take advantage of today’s topic train from the 30 Days of Gaming meme to also link to a new review I did for The First Hour. It’s of Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar, the most recent iteration of the seemingly popular farming sim games. I covered the game’s first thirty minutes, and most of that time was spent in a slow tutorial downpour. I’ll be back at a later point in time to dig deeper into the game because–no matter what–I’m going to at least get through an entire year of this slog.

Here’s the image I’d like to present to y’all to represent the game, and the reason I’m picking it is for the absurd amount of G this character has:

I think the highest I’ve accumulated at this point is around 15,000G, and that’s after selling everything I owned–including my very soul–at this week’s bazaar. Oh, and Antoinette is totally snobby to me, too. Why anyone would want to pursue her for marriage is beyond me. I’m going after Sherry, but at this point, it seems like it’s easier to get chickens to like me than actual people. Sad and disturbing, but also very true. Ah, the life of a farmer…

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.

Harvest Moon meets FarmVille meets a mouthful of sleeping pills

I’ve spent the past two weeks so far packing up my little studio apartment and slowly moving everything over to Tara and I’s new place, now officially known as The Leaky Cauldron. Cause, uh, when it rains, the ceiling leaks. How fun! And I’ve discovered a number of videogames that I bought and kind of forgot about as I shove them into boxes and bags. One unmemorable piece of plastic and coding turned out to be Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon, which I bought during an extreme spout of depression back in late June. I thought it might help fill the mild void that FarmVille left; side note, I was never addicted to the Facebook farming game, but I did log in every day for a few months to see what was what, but eventually lost interest despite liking the idea of crafting a piece of land into exactly what I wanted.

It’s a farming game with a mix of monster killing/monster raising, but I never got very far with it. It’s also been described as “Harvest Moon where you wield a sword.” The mechanics of it all though were very cold and regimented, leaving me confused and unsure of my farming skills. I basically started the game as Raguna, a fellow suffering from amnesia and wandering into the local town called Kardia. There he meets a girl named Mist who gives him a piece of land to farm and then…well, then you farm it. No tutorial really, no explanation. Exploring the city’s shops and houses allows Raguna to meet a host of characters, eventually finding himself face to face with the mayor who will allow him to enter the first cave and clear it of nasty monsters attacking Kardia. From there, Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon is open-ended. You can continue farming, trying to earn money by selling logs, woo women from town, or go cave-clearing. Or you can do what I did and try to clear the first monster cave only to get so far and then run out of health, exit out to rest, and go back to find ALL THE MONSTERS I PREVIOUSLY KILLED RESPAWNED. Meaning, I was not moving forward, only wasting my time.

Supposedly the storyline will not continue on unless new caves aren’t opened and cleared by beating the boss at the end. Greaaaaaaat.

Well, let’s try farming. Maybe I will become an expert farmer instead of a supreme warrior. So, in Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon, you have two gauges to keep track of: Hit Points and Rune Points. I think we all know how HP functions (if not, maybe Grinding Down isn’t the blog for you), but Rune Points more or less convert to stamina, and just about every single action Raguna takes uses up RP. If you run out of RP, then every subsequent action depletes your HP bar. Let’s take a look at what uses RP: digging, planting, watering, picking crops, swinging weapon, cooking food, and so on. RP is essential to living life, and it’s a shame because after maybe planting 9 seeds and then watering them, you’ll have run out of RP and are then forced to go to bed to restore your bar. And that, to me, seemed to be all I could do, day in, day out. I tried selling some logs and plants to make some money, but had no idea what to buy.

Either I’m missing something or I’m just not good at this game. It might be a mix of the two, but I found myself growing bored very fast as doing the same exact tactics over and over was not very fun. Maybe someone can explain it to me? If anything, Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon is a gorgeous-looking game. So there’s that at least, but it’ll most likely never get played again…

Breaking news: I bought the farm

…and by that I mean I removed the FarmVille app from my Facebook profile and no longer have to click, click, click until every crop has been harvested, every animal has been tended to, and every job has been done. It’s quite a relief actually, but truth be told…I was never a good farmer to begin with.

I signed up for FarmVille like countless others did sometime last year, curious to its appeal. I quickly found myself plowing some land and planting my first seeds. The crops grow in real time, meaning eight hours means eight actual hours. So once you plant your crops, you basically have to wait to get more money to plant more crops. Yup, it’s a cycle, and the cycle certainly can be addicting if you’re into that sort of work/reward process. While you wait, your avatar can decorate your farm with an assortment of farm-like and unfarm-like items, ranging from barns to hot air balloons to themed statues. You can also visit your neighbors (i.e., Facebook friends) and check out their farms, fertilizing their crops and feeding their chickens. But other than that, you must wait. And this will be how you play FarmVille for the first few weeks. It’s not until you level up considerably and get a decent chunk of change can you really design your farm to your heart’s content and focus on the crops you most enjoy growing.

But then the game plateaus. For me, this was around level 25.

At this point, FarmVille tried too hard to cater to every kind of gamer, casual and not. It threw in collections and ribbons (basically Achievements) and co-op gameplay and pet owning and headshots and tea-bagging and so on. The game also basically made it really hard to play without interacting constantly with neighbors and posting BS to your Facebook’s wall. In all of my 33 levels of farm powers, I might have posted a total of four items publicly; my sister made me do it. It’s not fun to do, and I feel annoying even just thinking about it. Sorry, Facebookers.

And so, just recently, I realized I hadn’t logged into my farm for a few days. My crops surely had withered away. My trees were most certainly all full of fruit, all ripe for the picking. I can see all my animals, all of them stuck forever in place, waiting for me to collect their feathers, calm them down, or gather up ice cubes. It seemed like too much for me, and I was not ultimately happy with the layout of my farm, feeling stuck; that said, I was also too lazy to start anew, and so my next option was to cut loose, set them free, and find something else worth clicking about on.

The app was removed in a matter of seconds, no bells and whistles, no hoops to jump through. Surprisingly easy.

I’ve always been curious about the Harvest Moon games, and I might have to try one of them out soon. Farming simulation can be fun, but for me…I need a little more direction than just plant, harvest, plant, harvest, plant, harvest, and plant, harvest.

REVIEW: SimCity DS

Right. I recently gave SimCity DS a second chance and reviewed the first 30 minutes of it for The First Hour. Alas, it’s still not a good game, nor will it ever be. Clunky menus, unforgiving controls, and globby goo graphics hamper the entire experience. I have no plans of ever going back…

You can read my full review of SimCity DS by clicking on this very sentence! Click, click, click!

Trouble in the SimCity

Last night, I gave SimCity DS a second chance. I bought it a long, long time ago while on a vacation and itching for something new, and I remember disliking it instantly. It’s based on SimCity 3000, but I really wish it had aimed more for the SNES version because, to me, that game exemplified quality city-building simulation. Sure, graphically, it was pretty bland, and the same can be said about the music, but SimCity for the SNES nailed the formula. It was not too fast-paced or chaotic, and it allowed the player to learn from their mistakes over time instead of constantly punishing them.

However, thirty minutes with SimCity DS just hit home the fact that this game is not made for a portable system, especially one with a tiny screen and stylus controls (though those are optional). Controls are iffy, mostly unreliable, and it seems like a disaster struck my city every few minutes. Besides that, there’s lagging and loading screens and 937 menu screens to sift through.

All in all, not what I wanted.

Anyways, I’m finishing up writing the review for The First Hour. Will let the entire Internet know when it goes live. Unless someone orders a tornado or alien invasion on me, that is…

First Impressions on Magician’s Quest Mysterious Times

magician

So, I’ve had this for a few days now, and though my play-time with Magician’s Quest Mysterious Times has been very limited, I’ve schlepped around the village/school/whatever long enough to express some thoughts on the Animal Crossing: Wild World clone. Now, let’s see…if I want to post my first impressions I have to select…incantation, cranium, and videogame.

Woo, success!

Things I like

  • The variety of life on-screen, from the vibrant mushrooms to the buzzing bugs to wandering classmates.
  • More storage space means more looting from dead bodies.
  • Collecting bugs and fish actually earns money/rewards, much more than AC: WW ever did Making money is a lot easier, which means no more frugal spending, just buy what you want.
  • “The Nutcracker” plays during Mystery Time, which is surprisingly fitting.

Things I hate as deeply as Voldemort hates Harry’s never faulty haircut

  • While having a magic wand that contains many things (shovel, fishing pole, net, watering can) is nice, whenever you switch to a new screen or enter a door you revert back to being empty-handed. This is stupid. And a waste of time as now I have to cycle through the items again just so I can catch a butterfly or cast a spell.
  • You can only take three classes a week. Once they are done, be prepared to be bored. This week I’ve learned the “treasure hunting” and “cloud hammock” spell, the incantation for “love,” and that when you talk to someone their name is added to your list of name-names. I now have to wait until Sunday to learn anything else—it better be worth it.
  • Spells—I already know it’s going to be such a pain later on to have to manually add them every time I want to use them. They should do that upon first usage or maybe set a limit, like after five times manually entering them now you can just select it from a list.
  • What’s the difference between a wig and a hat? (This is not a joke, there is no punchline coming.)
  • Mystery Time is not all that exciting. It’s just a special section where you can collect weird bugs and fish; it is after Mystery Time that is most important because that’s when you go investigating the weekly whodunit.

So yeah, at this point, I’ve only solved the first mystery. I have the generic staff and hat, very little furniture in my room, some Ritch, a couple of lessons under my belt…and that’s it. I kind of have to wait for real-life time to pass just to enjoy some aspects of Magician’s Quest Mysterious Times more. Hopefully, it’s worth it.