Monthly Archives: November 2014

#462 Thank Goodness for Handhelds

If you live in or near my home state of New Hampshire, you might be aware of the pretty nasty snow storm that decided to pay us all a visit this Thanksgiving, with a Blackout that decided to stop by as well, during the worst of the storm’s stay. My family lost our power around 7 pm after dinner, during the time we were settling into our nighttime routines, then flick, the power died leaving us with no Wifi, no TV or Wii U,  no lights, no heat and no power for our chargers. The only electronic thing we had were our own charged devices.

While the candles were lit around the house, news came in that both neighboring cities were included in the Blackout and there was no ETA on when power would be returned for our district. Like at a drop of a hat everyone in my pitch black house started playing their own version of ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’, making sure to use the remaining power on their Laptops, phones, and MP3 players for only the essentials, and doing sparingly enough to try to last throughout the blackout.

At the time of writing the power in our house has been out for 24+ hours, still with no ETA on repair, and I wrote the rough draft of this post at night by candlelight, and right now I am typing this up and publishing it at my local Library.

During these dark and very cold times I have come to appreciate everything little thing about my 3DS. The fact that all physical copies are DRM free in the regard that the cartridge does not take count on how many devices have played this game or that it is tied to a certain Mii-verse user So i can easily hand off my finished 3DS games to my younger brother to provide some ‘new games for him’. Continuing that thought, it is great that even Nintendo’s most popular games do not force you to follow an Always online requirement which is wonderful thing to not worry about when you have no WiFi or any other way practical way to connect to one of their servers.

"Take this game for instance, the online features are nice, and does improve the game, but it’s not needed to get the full experience of the game and it’s not the major selling point for the game."

“Take this game for instance, the online features are nice, and does improve the game, but it’s not needed to get the full experience of the game and it’s not the major selling point for the game.”

Speaking especially about Nintendo products, the battery life span in the 3DS, and in most of their handhelds is nothing short of amazing, resulting in me powering through my adventures in Hoenn under a pile of warm blankets long after all of my siblings phones and iPod’s battery cells dried up

Now long time readers might figure out that this is almost point for point the same as my previous praising of my mostly Pokemon device back in Be MOP #339, and that is because it is. But sometimes it takes the worst, most inopportune gaming times to make you appreciate all the little things, like the features on the 3DS or spending quality time with your snowed in family for the holidays by just quietly reading books together next to a dining table filled with lit candles.


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#461 ORAS First Impressions

The event is over, Nintendo Domination month is finally over. As I said in halfway through October. this is when all of the major Nintendo games coming out within the period of one month. It started with a bang with the Wii U launch of Bayonetta 1 & 2, following up with Mario Kart 8’s first DLC pack next week and ending up with the great releases of Super Smash bros and Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.

I am still saving my comments on Bayonetta until the end of the month, since those games are on my backlog list right now and I am going to be talking about Smash when I have more time with the game, and unlocking at least all the characters and most of the stages. For now I want to do a first impressions of the Omega Ruby game that is currently sitting in my 3DS. As I talked about earlier on my Monday Twitch Stream, the Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald was at the edge of my nostalgia, after this game my interest with the main Pokemon dropped until Pokemon Black/White helped rekindle my interest before Pokemon X/Y got me back full on board with the Pokemon franchise.

I am only the fourth gym leader but I can already see the polish the Pokemon series had between the original game and Generation 4-6, plus the added polish in the gameplay post X/Y, with the inclusion of Fairy type and some baby pokemon that were not created with the Gameboy Advance edition.

What is interesting in ORAS, this is the first remade Pokemon to upgrade the town and cities to better reflex what it could or should have been. While FireRed and Soul Silver had a graphical facelift with the towns and Pokemon designs but kept the town’s blueprints the same as the original. In the Omega Ruby Gamefreak used new technological advancements to their advantage to redesign some of the cities from the ground up, like for example the Mauville City was upgraded from a seven building city to a more proper city with a food court, a plaza and a second floor.

But one of the major advertising draws towards this game was the shiny new Mega and Primal evolutions that are exclusive to this edition of the game and it will be interesting in following the forums for the next few weeks and months to witness the change in the meta and competitive play from the X/Y meta to the ORAS meta builds.


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#460 Your Post is in another Castle

no-sign

What do you get when this blogger spend most of his weekend of playing Super Smash bros with his family in the living room while playing Omega Ruby with the rest of his free time?

You, dear reader, get a wonderful non-post to stall for some more time until I can properly compose my thoughts on both games.


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#459 My Swaying Stance on Buying Amiibos

This is a big day for Nintendo, for today marks the release of the long awaited Pokemon Hoenn remake, the latest installment of the Super Smash Bros series and their newest product line, Amiibos, hints the store shelves as well.

Amiibos has been the latest addition to what I am reluctant to say the newest trend in videogames market, physical collectible toys that also have an unlockable character or gameplay for a game, basically physical DLC. Skylanders were the trailblazers with this trend, Disney Infinity followed up next and now it is time for Nintendo to shine.

I will have some choice words about how some amiibos are sold at certain exclusive stores. Put that for a later time

I will have some choice words about how some amiibos are sold at certain exclusive stores. But that’s for another time

When I first saw Nintendo’s introduction video of Amiibos, I was against it scorned by the horror stories of the other games in the trend. Both Skylander and Disney Infinity does the terrible act of gating playable characters behind a paywall, which takes the form of toys. Say what you will about ARTS/MOBA games but at least you can earn every champion, with the option to buy the champion in question if you do want to go through the grind.

50$ start up and <$10 per champion for on disk content. No thank you.

50$ start up and <$10 per champion for on disk content. No thank you.

 

But after watching some of the newest Nintendo Direct and their plans for current and future Amiibo support, I have moved back onto the fence. The big push is with Super Smash bros, having the Amiibos act as customizable and upgradable friendly NPC fighters, in Mario Kart Amiibos unlocks special Mii racing outfits that your Miis can wear on the race tracks with the promise of Amiibos support for future games like, Hyrule Warriors, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and Mario Party 10.

Comparing SKylanders to Amiibos, Nintendo offers a better investment than Disney or Skylander because those two only works with one game, and Amiibos has the promise/potential to work with  every big Nintendo game for the rest of the Wii U life cycle. It also might hint of more of Nintendo IP crossovers like we have seen with Smash and Mario Kart 8 DLC and this would also provide some incentive for Nintendo to start producing more Wii U games of older Intellectual properties, like Metroid and F-zero for example.

And nobody's objecting to getting another F-zero game.

And nobody’s objecting to getting another F-zero game.

 

Personally I am waiting for more Nintendo games to come out with full Amiibo compatibility before I buy any, making sure it is not just a One trick pony. If I do commit to a purchase I am probably going to just limit myself to buying one, and only one and stick with it for *Hopefully* all of the future Nintendo games. I probability buy my Amiibo version of my Smash main, once I finally figure out what is my new Smash main or possibly my old school favorite, Pikachu or Mario.


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Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

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#458 Pokemon The Trading Card game mini-review

Nintendo is continuing the attack on my Wallet with not only the launch of Mario Kart 8 DLC pack 1 with another eshop drop. With a 3DS port of Pokemon The Trading Card game for the GameBoy color with their Virtual Console series.

I have said it before, but I do not know if it is Nintendo and Pokemon have started putting proper effort in their marketing with this console generation or if it is just because I am old enough now to start paying attention and picking up in the companies tricks.

I doubt that it was a coincidence that this Virtual Console port was announced only a few days after the Mario Kart 8 DLC went live and a week before the next major Pokemon title gets released. As of right now the only way to buy the DLC is to purchase eShop gift cards in stores or added set amounts through the online store. So naturally instead of buying the ten dollar increment gift card to just cover the price of the MK8 dlc cost, I bought the 20$ gift card for both the DLC and this game.

Those evil, evil people at Nintendo

Those evil, evil people at Nintendo

I knew this was going to happen eventually, with Nintendo’s habit to re-release older games for their newer platform, it was eventually going to happen that I would see, and buy a virtual console game based purely on nostalgia. I remember playing the digital version of the Pokemon trading card game on my GameBoy Color but the kicker is that I could not remember if it was any good. I remember playing it and I remember an overall net positive experience but I could not tell you if it was because of the gameplay or because it had Pokemon in it.

I have only clocked in an hour or two of game play between buying the game and writing but I feel I have experienced enough to confidently write a mini-review on the game.

Upon replaying the game the entire experience feels a tad off from the usual Pokemon games and Pokemon spin offs. This Pokemon game takes place in Generation I, with no mention of Dark, Steel, or Fairy types in the game, and the plot is almost comical. The plot has the same overall plot of the classic pokemon game, you are a nameless kid that sets out to “ be the very best//Like no one ever was” by going around and challenging the eight club masters (gym leaders) to prove your worth. But something is lost when you are trying to be the best at a card game, after the main game had you do battle with ‘real’ monsters.

Insert Yugioh abridged children’s card game joke here

Besides that complaint the only other minor one I have is that the over world runs like a poor man’s Pokemon ROM hack, using the same assets but not quite getting everything right. I have no screenshots from my game but you can see from the official eShop trailer with the camera panning and how all the enemies that you still have to challenge constantly runs in place.

Although, for a GameBoy Color game, it is still impressive that they were able to cram the entire card game rules and mechanics into the game cartridge, while still adding the cards I used to have in my physical deck when played ages ago. After all these years I still remembered how to play the card game without the introduction tutorial  and the game was overall still fun, even if I was smacked by the RNG in a few matches even when I was fighting against the gyms when I was suppose to have a type advantage.

If you have the money it is a nice buy to bind you over for the lead up of Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire’ release later this week. For now I, and I assume many other Pokemon fans, will have to settle for this fourteen year old edition of digital trading card game until Android users have the option to download and play Hearthstone, the more recent version of the Pokemon card game, or any other Pokemon games currently on the Apple app market.


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#457 Filler Post: Nemesis

This is close to the end times, I am almost running out of Star Trek movie titles to use in this Filler Post series. So far this is the tenth, last Star Trek title from the original time line before we got the Hollywood rebooted series seven years later.

As promised after the next two, and (as of right now) final Star Trek themed filler posts, I am going do to a proper post about all of the filler post series and little tricks I have used on this blog to ensure that I was able to hit my Monday/Wednesday/Friday blogging schedule every week for almost three years straight.

Star_Trek_Nemesis_poster

The real nemesis of Be MOP is writer’s block and poor time management


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#456 Who’s going to PAX East? -2015 Edition-

Earlier this week the people at Penny Arcade started selling tickets to their 2015 PAX East event and I was able to secure my weekend passes for the fifth year running.

The best part of maintaining a blog for over a year is that I can shamelessly reuse topical post titles from this time last year. AGAIN

The best part of maintaining a blog for over a year is that I can shamelessly reuse topical post titles from this time last year. AGAIN

PAX East is one of the few things I look forward to every year. It is a three day experience that is chock full of panels from everything from psychology of gaming, to marketing, to actually building a game an interesting level designs and engaging stories. Beyond the panels and talks there is an expo hall packed to the brim with all the popular gaming companies, showing off their their next games they have still in the works. Lets not forget about all the free giveaways and 3DS passes you collect over those three days.

Its crazy how much 3DS has changed gaming/comic/geeky expos. I was able to grind through the first two runs of "Find Mii" on my first day, by just idly checking my 3DS while waiting in line

It’s crazy how much the 3DS has changed gaming/comic/geeky expos. I was able to grind through the first two runs of “Find Mii” on my first day, by just idly checking my 3DS while waiting in line

All the stuff I just mentioned are just half of the reasons why I look forward to this every year, the other half and the more important half is interacting with everyone there. There has always been something reassuring that everyone there is just as much of an avid gamer as you are, knowing that you could literally turn to anyone in the convention and start talking about your hobby with the same level of passion.

There is an added layer of fun making new friends and meeting up with friends and you have not seen in ages or meeting with people you have only interacted with online. This year I am lucky enough to PAX with year with my brothers and some of my best friends.

But I am curious on who else is going? If you are reading this and you already booked your tickets for this year’s PAX East, feel free to leave a comment down below on which days you are going maybe we could meet up for a Pokemon battle or just to hang out.

At time of writing there are still a few Friday and Sunday day tickets available, if you are reading this while still being on the fence on buying them or not, take it from me (if you can make to Boston for the first weekend of March) go out and snag both or at least one day if you can because the experiences you will have there is well worth the price.


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Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

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