Daily Archives: April 28, 2011

30 Days of Gaming, #13 – A game you’ve played more than five times

This is kind of a weirdly phrased topic. I mean, it seems like it wants to ask about a game you’ve beaten more than five times because honestly, I’m pretty sure I’ve played every videogame ever more than five times–as have you–save for Epic Mickey (cue sound effect). If that’s the case, I had a number of choices for today’s 30 Days of Gaming meme topic, most of them coming from the great house of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, and Suikoden to name a few.

However, I’m going with Super Metroid, a game I can’t pinpoint on the number of times I’ve completed, but it’s one that I return to consistently every few years and love revisiting. I’m so proud to still have this cartridge in my SNES collection; thank the stars above and below that I didn’t trade it in with all those other games I now regret living without.

Super Metroid thrives on exploration and discovery; without it, Samus would just be some ho-hum bounty hunter that hopped up and down platforms, shot enemies to pieces, and took down crazily unique bosses. Those aspects of Super Metroid are great and certainly nothing to sneeze at, but its everything else around them, the unknown padding if you will, that makes this truly a game worth coming back to again and again. It’s landing on Zebes in the rain and heading to the right to discover that, no, really, you need to be heading to the left. It’s making your way through Crateria, which, as a young boy, I always misread as Cafeteria, and getting chills from the dreary, silent mood thickening in the air above. It’s getting even more freaked out when Samus first arrives at the Wrecked Ship to drips and statue-still enemies. It’s that final boss fight, and the frantic rush thereafter; it’s going back to where it all started.

Every time I play through Super Metroid, I discover something new. Last time, it was reaching new areas with the Shinespark technique that I had previously thought were unreachable. Another time it was sinking through some quicksand to…not die, but end up in a hidden room. Long before that it was learning all the secret, chargeable special attacks. I can’t even imagine what other hidden goodies remain for my next romp through, but I’ll be sure to x-ray scan every wall possible and bomb whatever gets in the way.

Truth be told, I’d love a new version to pop up on the Nintendo 3DS, and considering there’s a 3D upgrade to a title like Excitebike…well, my dream isn’t too far-fetched. Until then, I’m just gonna roll up into a ball and wait.

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The Nintendo 3DS battery life is seeing red

I played a lot of Picross 3D yesterday on my Nintendo 3DS, closing the lid when I needed a break, opening it up when I wanted to break something into a blocky but adorable household item. This meant never powering down or placing the system in its charge cradle–I packed it away for the previous Easter weekend trip down to see my father and sister and didn’t feel like setting it up again just yet. So it was little bits of gaming here and there. Also, please consider that the majority of the puzzles I’m currently doing in Picross 3D average about 10 to 15 minutes each, sometimes more if I have to redo them because I suck at math and deduction.

In short, I went from having a fully charged battery to near power loss in only a couple hours. Around three if I was to guesstimate. But here’s where it got interesting. When my DS Lite would start to lose its charge, a red light would appear on the top right of the handheld, indicating that, if possible, charging would be greatly appreciated. The truth is that one could keep playing their red-limned DS Lite for at least another twenty to thirty minutes so it was not super vital to rush over and plug that baby in.

When my Nintendo 3DS flicked on the red light, I assumed the same. And you know what they say about assuming, right? I couldn’t have glanced away for more than a minute before that red light changed chaotically–it began blinking, and not a slow, steady blink, but one that signaled something terrible, like a countdown or a malfunction or something on the fritz. I was amazed to see how quickly this system was signaling that it needed a charge; I used a Quick Save for my current Picross 3D puzzle and hurried over to set up the 3DS charge cradle. The thing was still blinking like a madman when I returned it to its home so I don’t know exactly how long that blinking goes on for, but my guess is certainly not twenty to thirty minutes.

We’ve all known the battery life sucks for the Nintendo 3DS. I mean, I wasn’t even using the 3D slider or any crazy apps, just playing an ol’ regular DS game, and it still sucked away more quickly than normal. I really just need to not rely on the 3DS as my main traveling system, and only keep it around to show folks some of its neater aspects, like 3D pictures, Face Raiders, and my collection of Lord of the Rings Miis.

P.S. Isn’t it simply hilarious that I’m playing a game called Picross 3D on my Nintendo 3DS…and it’s not in 3D? Send in the ROFLcopters to take me away.