May 12, 2014

Why I might get Pokemon Art Academy

Nintendo of America has confirmed that a Pokemon-inspired entry in the Art Academy series, aptly named Pokemon Art Academy, will be coming Stateside this Fall. As you'd expect, the game will teach you how to draw Pokemon.

Why might a 20-something girl like me want to get Pokemon Art Academy? Especially since I am not an artist in any sense of the word? Well, I sure wanted to be an artist when I was younger (what kid doesn't?), and Pokemon were a major source of "inspiration" for me. I consider a Machop I once drew to be my best artistic creation, though I have no idea what ever happened to that.

So it would be a lot of fun for me to relive my childhood fantasies. Whether I ultimately get Pokemon Art Academy depends largely on the game's price. If it's outrageous for some reason, that's a likely no from me. What are your thoughts?

April 04, 2014

Infendo Post - Super Smash Bros. Direct coming April 8th

I've been back to writing for Infendo for a while now. Usually, I'll post a news story to Infendo, then post about the same thing here, but with extra, more personal thoughts alongside. Today, however, I'm just gonna hand you the Infendo article on a platter:
A Nintendo Direct focusing on Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS is on its way: on April 8, at 3:00pm PT, prepare for some news on the two highly anticipated installments in the beloved franchise.
This is definitely something to get excited about. I mean, like the Pokemon X and Y Direct and the Wonderful 101 Direct that came before, this is an entire Nintendo Direct dedicated to just two games. Two games that are arguably more anticipated by fans than Pokemon or The Wonderful 101. According to the official Nintendo Direct site, the Smash Bros. special will reveal new details about the two games. And if tradition holds, the broadcast will be around 20 minutes long. A lot can be revealed in 20 minutes. What are you hoping for out of the upcoming Direct?
Thanks for the tip, MikeIsaPoet.
Check out the article on Infendo right here

April 03, 2014

New trailer and details revealed for Mario Kart 8

Nintendo has released a new trailer for Mario Kart 8, along with the floodgates for journalists' previews. Here's a quick list of what to expect from the new entry in Nintendo's main racing franchise:
  • NEW ITEM: Piranha Plant This item's inspiration clearly comes from Super Mario 3D World, in which players could sometimes pick up a pot with a Piranha Plant in it and watch as its gaping maw jerked forth to munch whatever it could reach, enemies and friends alike. The item will work similarly in Mario Kart 8, with every jerk giving the player a speed boost. Seems like a 7th to 12th place item to me.
  • NEW ITEM: Boomerang This one also has a history, one that began with Super Mario 3D Land, which introduced the boomerang power-up that allowed players to, you guessed it, throw some boomerangs around! And again, this is much the function it will have in Mario Kart 8. The player who receives the item will be able to throw it 3 times, backwards or forwards, and watch as it slips other racers up as it goes and comes. 
  • RETURNING ITEM: Coins At first, I thought this must be a new item, but apparently it's a returning item from Super Mario Kart, the series' very first entry. Picking coins up off the track will be familiar to anyone who has played Mario Kart 7 on the Nintendo 3DS, but now an item box may grant you a couple of coins as well. Coins give small speed boosts, but the most important thing about them is to collect them: once a player has reached the maximum number of coins, they also reach the maximum speed for their chosen kart (10 is the max in MK7, probably in MK8 too).
  • 12-Player Online Races Mario Kart 8 will feature online races that support up to 12 players. Yay!
  • Anit-gravity Sections Ever since the anti-gravity idea was introduced in a trailer who knows how long ago, I've been slightly skeptical of the idea. Now that things have been cleared up, I couldn't be more excited to try anti-gravity myself when Mario Kart 8 comes out: the effect causes racers to get speed boosts when they bump into each other or certain elements on the track. It also looks like anti-gravity will allow for some seriously awesome track designs. 
  • GamePad Features The GamePad will include a little horn that players can sound at the touch of a button, plus players can touch tiles on the screen to activate other modes: one tile activates off-TV mode, another displays a map on the touch screen, and the last one activates motion control. This implementation is not half bad, but it certainly could have been better.
And those are the highlights! Check out Nintendo's latest trailer for Mario Kart 8 below:

April 02, 2014

Thoughts on horror games and Cult County by Renegade Kid

You learn something new every day: today I learned that Renegade Kid, an independent game development studio, was responsible for two critically successful horror games on the Nintendo DS: Dementium: The Ward and Dementium II. I knew of those games, but I didn't connect the studio responsible for Mutant Mudds with them. If you want, check out my shining review for Mutant Mudds on the 3DS right here. It's not even a remotely horrific game, unless a high level of difficulty is horrific for you (it borders on horrific for me).

Renegade Kid recently launched a Kickstarter campaign aimed at funding a new survival horror game, Cult County, for a slew of home systems, including the Wii U. I have backed the project because I want to see as great a variety of games as possible release for the Wii U. In truth, however, I won't be playing the final product.

Have you ever noticed that I don't play or talk about horror games much here on my blog? Maybe not, but it's true: I simply don't play them. The most horrifying games I've ever played are Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. Fans of the horror genre probably don't consider Metroid to be scary at all, just atmospheric. But I can't handle much more. I'll happily play just about any other genre of video game. I just hope you can forgive me for that, and realize that everyone has a genre they avoid or won't even touch! Now you know mine. What's yours?

March 28, 2014

Thought of the Day - YouTube ads ruin a perfectly good playlist of retro Nintendo music

There is a distinct charm to retro video game music. I'm talking 8- and 16-bit generation music. There's nothing quite like submersing yourself in chiptunes from NES and SNES games for a while. I would describe the sensation as almost surreal, in fact. Which is why I started to compile a playlist on YouTube with only the best NES and SNES music I can think of on it.

So far I've only got eight tracks on there, but that is certainly enough to get started, and all 8 of them can only be described as the best of the best.

The effect of listening to a bunch of retro music, one song after another, is rather spoiled by YouTube ads that might play before the actual videos. It's a delicate effect, after all. As much as I wish it were not so, ads have so pervaded our media, they simply cannot be avoided anymore. Which brings me to why Nintendo should release its soundtracks on iTunes and Amazon here in the West...

But that's a thought for another day.