Wii U is Dead?

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The question is not if, the question is when. When will Nintendo finally cut their loses and dump the Wii U and allow other hardware companies to enjoy Nintendo exclusives? The answer is either really soon, or never. Sound confusing? Well that is because it is complicated. Nintendo has suffered losses in the past, but this is the very first time that Nintendo is being pressured by the shareholders to just give up the pipe dream of the Wii U being a thing (like that pun?), and start playing well with others.

Nintendo does have enough money to get through this, but it is probably not the best route. Hopefully the come to their senses and drop the Wii U.

What do you think?

3DS Firmware Update Fixes Biggest Problem With eShop (or at least one of them)

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Since the inception of the eShop, Nintendo seems to have always been a step behind on its internet strategy. The biggest flaw of the 3DS was if you downloaded an eShop game, your save was tied to that game file. Meaning, if you ran out of room on your SD Card, and you wanted to delete a game file, your save was dead too presuming you can’t back up the entire game to a PC.

Thanks to a new update, the 3DS eShop full games can now have a local save backup in the event you have to delete your game to make room for Animal Crossing! This is huge news for the 3DS owners who still use their default 2GB stick. This still does not resolve the fact that if your 3DS gets stolen, you’re shit out of luck, back up or not, since all your eShop titles are fucking bound to hardware instead of account wide, but baby steps Nintendo. It’ll come someday, and when it does, so will I.

Harvest Moon: A New Beginning

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Harvest Moon: A New Beginning
Publisher: Natsume
Developer: Marvelous Interactive Software
Released: February 23, 2012 (Japan)
November 6, 2012 (North America)
Available On: 3DS

Every Harvest Moon that comes out, I purchase. Not because I’m totally in love with the game, I am, but because I love to see what they do with each game and the ease of the user interface for the series. In A New Beginning (we’ll shorten this long title to ANB) your character moves into a small town that is losing people at a rather rapid pace courtesy of the failing economy in the town. Your job, as is trending with the current wave of HM games, is to save the town with your farm by growing crops, collecting items all over the area, and shipping as much as possible. You also end up building up this town, all the buildings you need minus the blacksmith’s building you build with blue prints you must purchase. As you build, they move in and the town and starts to hustle and bustle again. You’ll also meet with some Harvest Sprites and the Harvest Goddess, and a varied array of suitors eligible for you to win, marry, and raise a family with.

You get to pick your character; boy or girl, shade of skin (which is a first they give you 4 options; white, pale, tanned, or brown), eye color, hair color and cut, and clothing. Then you move in and they start the tutorials after you save your teacher and mentor, Dunhill. Unlike past HM games, you don’t actually plant your crops during the tutorial, they just show you pictures so you won’t be able to use them as a starting point. Everything you learn in the tutorials has a back up reminder in your bookcase. ANB does not require the use of the touch pad, its an optional piece for everything. A and B buttons are used to confirm or cancel options, the joystick for movement.

The newest feature of ANB is the online features, which you can play with friends or people you don’t even know. Finally you can go online, go to other people’s farms, and interact with the world to see how they have set up their farms and such. I haven’t fully explored and opened this section of the game, there may be more than I am posting but it is a very nice feature added into the game. I can’t wait to see the future games and if they can interact with past games like this one.

Harvest Moon: A New Beginning has followed the path of its predecessors in being an adorable and all around happy game. Even the worst events in these games are performed to allow the player to feel sadness for the event but still enjoy the game overall. It’s always been a highly recommended series, especially for new gamers, children, and hardcore gamers who need a break from the mainstream games.

Major E3 Predictions

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E3 is upon us again and people have been itching to know what new detail about the next-gen console or the new game is going to be announced since the last E3 the year before. Wait, what’s E3 you ask? For all you gamers not getting with the lingo here, E3 or Electronic Entertainment Expo is an annual video game convention/fair where all the major game developers and publishers show off their new product. Unlike other video game conventions, E3 is exclusive to the industry and many of its facets. So the public will have to make do with internet articles, facebook photos, and live tweets from the fair. The next E3 won’t be until June 11th of this year, running for two more days through the 13th, so here’s a rundown of things I think, and hopefully for the greater good of the video game community, will be announced.

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Games that Defined the Generation

Games that Defined the Generation

Two weeks ago, I asked the Gamevain staff to write up their picks for games of the generation. Per my usual, I gave as little restrictions as possible, because I will publish anything. The result has exceeded my expectations. Mark kicked us off with some amazing titles that will be remembered for years. Anne Marie reminded us that influential can come from the most humble origins, and Austin removed generational barriers to bring us a fantastic lineup that will continue to shape how games are made.

So what does that leave me with?

I’ve been called a video game hipster before, and by looking at my list, I would be hard pressed to argue against that accusation. My own personal tastes in games does tend to fall into the indie territory. Even for my non indie picks, they certainly are not mainstream. I think this has less to do with my love of indie and more for my love of retro games. I enjoy arcade style games that want you to dump more quarters into it because they’re unfair. I adore old style graphics because of the range of emotions that can be expressed with pixels. I especially am fond of demonstrations of putting fun before all other aspects. With those ideals in mind, lets look at my personal picks for the games of the generation.
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This Week in Imports: Animal Crossing: New Leaf!


I found myself over the last couple weeks staring at a blank notepad wondering how I was going to preview Animal Crossing. To me, it will join Harvest Moon and Etrian Odyssey IV as the reasons you need to own a 3DS. And that is why it is so hard for me to preview this game as nothing I can say will do the game justice.

Overall, it plays like every other Animal Crossing game: you run up and down on what is a cylindrical world talking to the townsfolk, running errands, and remodeling your town all whilest collecting pieces of furniture as trophies for your house. You can fish, catch bugs, plant trees and flowers, collect trash, dig for fossils, etc. as things to do to pass the time.

As for actual additions to the gameplay: you can swim and you an become mayor allowing you to customize the layout of your town even further. Other than the additions of more items, costumes, and possible townfolk the game is the same as the original.

And that’s it. The game is a beautiful recreation of an already excellent series. Animal Crossing keeps to the simplicity that made the game so enjoyable in the first place, making it feel as it’s adopting a Generation clause similar to the Pokemon series. Look for it on shelves June 9th.

Tom Recommends: Tokyo Crash Mobs (3DS)

Tokyo Crash Mobs is a game you can get with money on the Nintendo eShop for the 3DS. It is a puzzle game where you throw people, roll people, and watch movies that boarderline on a stoner’s ambien dreams. Also, I freakin love it! It will probably pass by your attention because graphically, it looks like absolute shit. It looks only slightly better than when people discovered the magic of CD ROMs could place real actors into games. While this is no “Make My Video with Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch,” it does use surrealism, clever mechanics, and challenging gameplay to draw you into this world. Also, it’s ultra cheap at only $6.99 so buy buy buy!

 

Etrian Odyssey IV Demo Coming February 7th

It’s great to see Etrian Odyssey IV getting the demo treatment. This series is unfairly overlooked by even the RPG enthusiast crowd, partially because the games still cost an arm and a leg. Combine that with extremely punishing difficulty, and you have a formula for niche. That’s why I’m super the excited to see the latest in the series will get a demo! Not only is this great news for new comers, but old hats should look forward to this as well since your progress in the demo data is transferable to the retail release! Here’s a trailer to get you pumped!

An Open Letter to Gamestop Regarding The 3DS XL Launch

Dear Gamestop:

Today, I went to my local store to pick up a preorder of the 3DS XL. Thanks to your trade in incentive of $100 extra towards my purchase with the trade in of my existing 3DS, this much desired product was within my price range. I couldn’t be more excited to get my greedy little mitts on it either; however, after I got my product, this is where the trouble began.

As you may or may not know, Nintendo does not – at the time of writing – have any unified account system that stores all purchase data like Sony Entertainment Network or XBox Live. As a result, in order to trade in my unit, but retain my purchases, I would have to perform a system to system transfer of my data. According to your employees, you knew this in advance and sent them instructions on this process. What you failed to understand was in order to do this transfer, open wifi is REQUIRED. With absolutely no Gamestops in my home area (four in total) with open wifi, in order to purchase my 3DS XL, I had to trade in my unit and lose a significant number of dollars worth of Nintendo software due to your negligence to provide customers with the necessary means to transfer.

This would ordinarily be a customer problem and not something that would demand corporate attention, but your trade in policy encourages the customer to trade in their unit without providing the customer the ability to fully utilize the 3DS transfer process. I believe this is a failure of your company to recognize the needs of your customers. After spending over an hour on the phone with Nintendo customer service, they have directed me to speak to you regarding this problem with your trade in process. Call me cynical, but I personally believe there is literally nothing to be gained from talking to you directly, so I am putting this open letter on a public games blog in a blind hope that someone takes this seriously. I respect your company and the service you provide to gamers, but I feel in this instance, and many others, you have placed your need for used product for profits above the needs of your customers and feel this is something you must rectify.

If you feel the need to respond directly, you can email me at tom@gamevain.com.

Danica Patrick to appear in Sonic’s crap racing game

In an effort to generate huge sales for Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed, it was announced at E3 that US auto racer Danica Patrick will be featured in this game.

Come on! No one cares! No one wants to see Sonic behind the wheel of a car. He has supersonic speed, hence the name. Why the hell would he need to drive a car?!

Fans of Danica Patrick should shake their heads in shame at this misuse of this beautiful woman. But don’t worry this game won’t see another sequel.

 

(Thanks Ian)

Time Travelers trailer

Check out this trailer for Time Travelers. The trailer is in Japanese but the game looks rather interesting. The game is being developed by Level 5 Studios and is set in a reconstructed Tokyo after a mysterious entity destroys the city.

Time Travelers has an anticipated release date of July 12, 2012 for Nintendo 3DS, PSP, and PSVita.