Tag Archives: Excitebike

Shutting this Nintendo Club down with freebies

club nintendo post gd end of april

A little while back, Nintendo emailed me. Chances are, if you are a member of Club Nintendo, you also got a similar email, though we might differ on one main point–status. Anyways, they wanted to inform me that I had earned a Gold status in their unblinking, Mario-esque eyes, which meant I was entitled to a free game, a digital download at zero cost, and I had a list to pick from for either the Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo Wii U. Those that got Platinum status had a larger pool to pick from, and I made a mental note to come back and get my not-yet-selected freebie. Fast-forward to yesterday, the deadline for this promotion, and I scanned the list and picked…well, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for the Wii U.

Hold your horses, you say. Ah, I say back. You must be one of my highly attentive readers, for you are properly confused as to why I’d buy a digital game only available for the Wii U when I do not have a Wii U. Let me spoil it for you: I have a Wii U, and I’ve had a Wii U for many, many months. Since last fall, actually. I’ve just not found much to say about the system, which, in its own little way, maybe says more than I ever could. I’m not sure how well playing a two-screen game like Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga on the Wii U works–yes, I am not disregarding the fact that the console also has two screen, but they are somewhat separated–but I’m interested in learning.

Since I was already logged in to Club Nintendo’s site, I did a little more browsing and discovered I had 650 Coins sitting pretty up in the top corner. Suddenly, I remembered–there was something I wanted to use those on! Specifically, the Animal Crossing: New Leaf-themed deck of playing cards. Alas, they were no longer available, which is what I get for not hopping to it. Boo. None of the other physical items called out to me so I spent my well-earned reward coins on two more digital downloads for the Wii U: EarthBound and NES Remix. The former is a classic RPG that I’ve long wanted to play, just not through an illegal emulator, and the latter is a bunch of quick, quirky challenges in NES titles of yesteryear.

I’ve not actually loaded up either EarthBound or Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga yet, as RPGs like that require a time commitment, which I’m not ready to give, mostly because all my RPGing at the moment is going into Final Fantasy IX. I’ll get to them soon, perhaps over the summer. That said, I did load up NES Remix last night and found myself seriously absorbed, unable to stop until I had completed all of the levels for Excitebike and one-third of the ones for the original Super Mario Bros. It’s a lot of fun, but I’ll save further thoughts for its own dedicated blog post.

All that said, I am left with 100 coins in my Club Nintendo profile, which can be spent on…next to nothing. I can purchase one item for 80 Coins, which is called Grill-Off with Ultra Hand! Hmm. It’s a fast-paced game of skill and timing, where the player must barbecue all kinds of meats on the grill. In one way, it sounds amazing, and in another, it sounds like a gimmick that would quickly get old. Alas, I don’t think you can earn any more coins for your profile, so it is either this or let my coins vanish in the end. I’m not really tormented over this decision. Club Nintendo is shutting down at the end of June, so I have plenty of time to weigh my options.

If you too were brandished with either Gold or Platinum status, what freebie did you pick? Also, if you have those Animal Crossing: New Leaf-themed playing cards, I’ll trade you a free copy of Grill-Off with Ultra Hand! for it. That’s a pretty good deal, and you know it.

It is only through Motocross Madness that the soul is revealed

motocross madness early impressions

Trials Evolution is a game I both love and hate, one with extremely hard swings, where one minute I’m leaping off a ramp high in the sky across a gorgeous vista and doing sick backflips and the next grumbling curse word after curse word as I try to get up an extremely steep hill and hit the next checkpoint. It’s really been my only toe-dip into the videogaming world of dirt bike racing–I guess since Excitebike–and its focus on hyper sensitive controls really means that only the driven and dedicated will continue on. Alas, I have not; think the last time I touched it was last fall, and even then it was only for goofing around in the user-created levels, which are, nine times out of nine, absolutely bonkers.

Well, I got the itch to gas a bike up a steep ramp and do silly tricks, and so I turned to Motocross Madness. No, no, not that Motocross Madness, the one from 1998. This is Microsoft’s Avatar-spearheaded take on arcade style and open sandbox motorbiking, and it was given out for free this month to Gold accounts, along with Dishonored, which I continue to be terrible at. More on that somewhere down the line…

To be honest, I’m enjoying Motocross Madness. A lot. While there may not be a ton of variety in the courses, there’s certainly variety to the things you can do in them. First, you can partake in a standard race via Career mode, aiming for that first place gold medal each time. Rivals mode has you competing against developer avatar ghosts. There’s a Trick mode that tests your aerial button-pressing skills and rewards you with new trick combos. Lastly, and probably my favorite part of Motocross Madness, is Exploration mode, which lets you hop off the track’s main path and explore every corner of the environment for gold coins and collectibles, all at your own leisurely pace. The courses are spread across three differently themed worlds, though I’ve only gotten to bike around Egypt and Australia for now; Iceland is still to come.

Unlike Trials Evolution, the racing here is much looser and more forgiving, meaning you can spill a few times and still stay in the lead or, with enough time, catch back up with everybody. I appreciate this greatly. If that’s not the case, then you probably need to lightly grind for some more coins and upgrade your bike a bit, which is easily done via Exploration mode or playing an older race again. The physics are not entirely arcade-ish, as landing after a jump or trick does require you to maintain some balance or skid out, and you eventually are able to ride behind another biker and coast within their wake, which is silly fun.

Much like with Doritos Crash Course 2 and, maybe, World Series of Poker: Full House Pro, seeing your Avatar in action is a blast. It’s a shame that the game encourages you to cover up my silly, bearded face with riding helmets, but sometimes you need to do that to look super stylish. While the outfits are cosmetics, you can make stat changes to your bike, purchasing new engine parts, tires, and brakes, and you will occasionally need to up a bike to perform better in a higher-tiered race. The cartoony graphics all around work well, though there’s some strange pop-in after each race is finished, when your Avatar hops of his or her bike and greets the crowd of cheering fans.

For another monthly freebie, Motocross Madness is a great addition to anyone’s digital collection on the Xbox 360. Perhaps a bit small in scope, but still brimming with things to do. You can also race competitively online though, if y’all know me like I hope y’all would know me by now, I’ve made no attempts to try this as of yet. Personally, I end up spending most of my time in Exploration mode, staring at coins and skulls in the sky and trying to figure how best to get ’em. It’s certainly more enjoyable than hitting restart every few seconds on a tough-as-nails track in Trials Evolution.

Loading up my 3DS with some new and old gaming experiences

Suddenly, there’s a whole bunch of new stuff on my Nintendo 3DS, and some of it I actually want to play–I know, pretty crazy times right now. Duck and cover!

Basically, I was finally able to get the eShop running the other day on the little handheld that couldn’t and decided that I would buy $20.00 worth of…$20.00 for shopping purposes. Yay, no more pointless points! Except, strangely, at the very end of my buying blitz, I still had an annoying $0.73 leftover, now doomed to sit unspent for–most likely–many months. Unless Mega Man Legends 3: Prototype Version drops tomorrow. But yeah, $0.73. Kind of like how I still have 10 Microsoft Points in my account, and there’s nothing I can spend it on. Oh well. For some reason, despite downloadable games for the Nintendo eShop being priced like so–$1.99, $3.99, $7.99–I kind of forgot to factor in tax, so my $20.00 splintered quickly, leaving my “account” to have some change left standing.

Let’s do a quick rundown of the shiny new:

Excitebike 3D

It’s the same ol’ Excitebike, but with a 3D coat, which no one is forcing you to wear. I tried it on and then took it off quickly. Didn’t do much except make the towering ramps stick out a bit. The classic levels, sounds, and controls are all there, and it’s still a blast to hit a ramp and land successfully, and it’s still not a blast to crash and yell at the little pixel dude to “Hurry up!!!” It’s hard to complain too much about this as it’s a free download from now until some time in late July. A nice new feature is the ability to save your course creations.

Pokédex 3D

Another freebie, but this one seems to be a freebie for all eternity. You start out with a random selection of Pokemon and unlock more via SpotPass and StreetPass and PokePass and a thousand other ways. You can organize as you please, but its best feature is that all the ‘mon are animated in 3D and look gorgeous. Audino never looked so huggable. Still, I’d have loved to have seen some kind of bonus interaction for us portable gamers that actually had a copy of Pokemon White/Black as a nice “thank you” for buying the game. Maybe special skins for the Pokedex based on how many you’ve caught in the retail game or something like that. I dunno. It’s nice and fun to click around on, but it can only do so much.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

It’s been a struggle, but I’ve resisted playing this so far, and here’s why: I’d like to cover my first 30 minutes with it for The First Hour as it’s a game I’ve never played, but–judging from screenshots only–seems to play a lot like my absolute favorite videogame of all time (OF ALL TIME!). That would be The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, naturally. Hopefully soon I can find a pocket of time and a place with air conditioning to take notes.

Music On: Electric Piano

I nabbed this based solely on a suggestion from the comments. It’s a keyboard simulator with some drum tracks and knobs to play with. A fun, silly time-killer, and cheap to boot. You can speed up and slow down background beats, as well as pitch the keyboard notes to high heaven. Haven’t figured out how to record anything yet, but will do so eventually. And then it’s on to music stardom, headlining for Lady Gaga and singing about how we’re all beautiful, inside and out. Can’t wait. Tour starts Winter 2012.

Simply Mahjong

The game’s title says it all: it’s mahjong. But here’s the thing; I’m a closeted mahjong addict. Something about the match-two-but-with-strategy gameplay gets me every time. I’ve done a couple of puzzles so far, and it’s exactly what was promised. There’s three sets of difficulty, which each tier getting its own bundle of puzzles to complete. I’d say there’s probably over 100 in total. What’s funny is that when you type in “mahjong” in the 3DS eShop search box, you get like five different titles, all of them more or less the same thing. I closed my eyes and picked this one, but I’m sure any of them would be satisfying.

Classic Scrabble

Ahh, yes. The game of words for wordsmiths worldwide. Love me some Scrabble. I played one game so far and dominated my A.I. opponent, but that was on default difficulty. Gotta ramp it up. It’s nice that every word played also gets a definition so you can’t call BS on words like EDS (education) or LING (a heath plant). Only weird thing is you gotta turn the device sideways like a book to play it. Not a deal-breaker, but odd nonetheless.

And that’s about it for now. It’s nice to have some extra games to fiddle with on the go other than Find Mii or Face Raiders (which isn’t always playable depending on where you are playing). I do look forward to Mega Man Legends 3: Prototype Version, as well as the free download of The Four Swords in September, but other than that, not sure what else I’d be interested in getting. Unless they dropped a ton of SNES games for download, which I doubt will happen. Please happen.

What’s what with the forthcoming Nintendo 3DS eShop

Unless it happens to get delayed again, the Nintendo 3DS eShop will soon be available on June 6, 2011, to all us loyal fans that jumped the gun on getting the system. It’ll be accessible through a system update, much like how we all got that OK GO music video with the energetic dogs. Sadly, once we get the new update, that video is gonna disappear. Not really sure why, but it’s a small price to pay to make the 3DS somewhat relevant again. Here’s what is gonna be available for U.S. gamers at store launch:

  • Excitebike – 3D Classics, free until July 7, 2011
  • Pokédex 3D – “3DSWare”, free
  • Super Mario Land – Game Boy
  • Alleyway – Game Boy
  • Radar Mission – Game Boy

The eShop will, reportedly, update every Thursday, which explains the slim pickings of the launch lineup. One free game, one free app, two games nobody’s gonna want, and a nice stab at nostalgia with Super Mario Land. The addition of an out-of-game Pokédex is nice, especially that it’s free, but it seems like it’s reliant on StreetPass for growing larger and fuller. Fun idea, but probably not plausible. Missing from the list is, of course, Mega Man Legends 3: Prototype Version. Boo to that, as it was gonna be a heavy hitter for the eShop debut, and that’s saying a lot considering it’s not even a finished game yet.

There’s been no word yet from Nintendo about whether next week’s update will include the Netflix app for streaming films/TV, which I’m positive I will try once and not really like considering how quickly the system’s battery life gives out. However, we do now have some details about the free web browser; it’s supplied by Netfront instead of Opera this time around and will not support Flash. The browser will allow you to upload 3D photos you’ve taken with the system’s camera, as well as view 3D images on websites like 3D Porch. Neato? Naaah.

This doesn’t concern me, but many handheld gamers will be pleased to know that you can transfer DSiWare games from a DSi to a 3DS. Except for these titles. However, you can’t transfer files from a 3DS back to your DSi, natch. Some streets are one way only.

Well, at least I’ll have a reason to really use my Nintendo 3DS on June 6, 2011. Here’s hoping this is just the start and slow climb to greatness; I’m now just waiting for a 3D version of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, as well as wondering how payment is going to work.

Get excited for a free Excitebike on the 3DS

Here’s something cool: when the Nintendo 3DS eShop finally does reveal itself, us 3DS owners will be treated to a free, downloadable copy of Excitebike. And not just that ol’ Excitebike from eons past, no. This is a new version, specially tailored to show off some of the 3D effects this 3DS is somewhat known for. Since it’s free, that’s a-okay. I mean, they could cover the sweet rides in glitter and periwinkle streamers and throw some training wheels on every bike so long as it was free; us diligent supporters of Nintendo’s handheld consoles deserve something for buying early and waiting awhile, right? Right-o.

This isn’t just a shot in the dark either. Basically, for 3DS owners, it’s our first experience with the “3D Classics” line, wherein classic games are updated with new, 3D effects. Let’s hope they do Tennis or Marble Madness next. Some websites are saying this deal might be in Japan only; I sure hope not.

My wife recently bought Excitebike from the Wii’s virtual console, and she had a blast tumbling and turning over as she miscalculated jumps and landings. Now I gotta go home and play a little just to refresh my horrible motorbike skills. At least there’s now two reasons to look forward to this eShop launching: this and Mega Man Legends 3: Prototype Version. I think I already said this, but hurry up, late May!