How to: 3DS

I’ve noticed that although a lot of my friends have picked up a brand new 3DS, they’re not using it to its full capacity, and then they complain that it’s not living up to all the promised features.  That’s like getting a new car, leaving it in your garage and complaining that it doesn’t take you anywhere.

Before doing anything else in this article, you’ll want to configure your 3DS online with the Wi-Fi protocols of your choice by going into the system menu and setting everything in there.  There are a lot of tutorials on this on the net, so I’m not going to waste my blogging space with the details and instead, I’ll move onto the FUN STUFF:

Create your Mii in the Mii Maker, first of all.  Without a Mii to represent you, you won’t be able to add friends, play the included StreetPass games, or take advantage of the Mii features of other multiplayer games.  Go into the Mii Maker software and create yourself!  It’s pretty quick if you find the idea of character creation a hassle, and it can go pretty in depth if you get into it.

Register with your local friends’ 3DS systems when you visit them.  Yes yes, we’ve all heard the complaints about how bad friend codes are, so now you only have to use them if you want to register each other over a distance.  You can simply register friends between systems by being near each other and hitting the “Register local friend” option in the friend-list on your home menu.  Although you don’t need to even register friends if you want to play against each other in online matches, Registering your 3DS friends on your system will allow you to take full advantage of the online structure, see when they’re online, send them personal notes, and otherwise make a more intimate connection with your closest gamer friends when you can’t see each other in person.

Download the following apps.  They’re all free, and you should even receive a notification about them within the first few days of connecting your system online:

SwapNote:  This is your messaging app.  You can send your friends pictures, comics, voice clips, photos, or just plain ol’ hand written notes, and receive the same, along with their replies.  As you write notes to each other, new features will unlock, such as an array of stationery you can buy using play-coins, or 3D ink.

Nintendo Video: this app will allow you to receive four 3D videos on your console at a time, usually with a new video every couple of days.  The videos cover stop-motion animation, music videos, comedy, movie trailers, and some current events.

(optional) Pokédex 3D [PRO]: (as of this update, Pokédex 3D, the free version, has been replaced in the 3DS eShop with a “PRO” version, costing as much as your average strategy guide, and containing all the information you would expect from an official strategy guide including moves, stat-growths, natures, a move-dex, but additionally includes pronunciation in multiple languages, animation-sets, a photo-mode, and a quiz-game)
Unless you absolutely abhor the concept of Pokémon, in which case, skip this paragraph.  Pokédex 3D turns your system into, well, a Pokédex, somewhat similar to the one from the show.  It won’t read out the entries, thankfully.  A must for any tournament player, and a nice thing to have for any casual player.

Now onto the actual tips.

Don’t turn the system off!  The reason you have to hold the power button in for a second, and then touch a second, “power off” panel on the touch screen to actually power off the system, is that it’s meant to be on all the time.  StreetPassing and SpotPass downloads happen constantly.  You’ll receive videos, notes from your friends, free DLC for your games, and StreetPass Miis, all while your system is sitting in its charging cradle or travelling with you.  If you game enough to actually discharge your 3DS during a single work-day, then take your charging cable with you (or get a portable charger, iGo sells some lovely ones) and game worry-free!  The only time you’d need to do a hard power-off of your system would be to remove the SD card to transfer music and photos and such.

Explore the included software.  Specifically, The Camera app, the sound/music app, Face Raiders and the AR Games.  These will accustom you to moving your 3DS in an AR environment while maintaining the 3D effect, and familiarize you with features that will be used in the 3DS games you’ll be playing, so that you won’t be totally lost when, for example, Kingdom Hearts 3D comes packaged with a couple of these “weird little cards”, or how your friends are sending you 3D photographs and voice clips in SwapNote while all you can do is scribble on your notes.

Earn Your Play-Coins.  If you don’t know what play-coins are, they are a specific type of currency that is only meant to be spent on in-game purchases.  They are a meta-gaming system that allow you to get a little boost in your games simply for going on a walk each day.  You can’t sell game items for play coins, they’re only earned through the player’s real-world movement.  All you need to do is carry your 3DS around with you from place to place.  As you move, the 3DS will detect the motion and add play coins to your account, to a maximum of 10 per day, and 300 total.

Spend Your Play-Coins. That said, there’s no point in amassing play coins if you’re not going to use them.  Hire wandering heroes cheaply, or hire old allies expensively for the Find Mii games, and you’ll be storming dungeons.  Buy some eggs for Kid Icarus’ Idol Toss, Round out your figure collection in Street Fighter 3D Edition or Dead of Alive: Dimensions, the possibilities are endless!

Play the StreetPass Mii Plaza games.  This one is separate because it goes beyond the included software.  StreetPass Mii Plaza is something you should boot up every time you see that little light on the corner of your 3DS glow green.  In Find Mii (and its sequel once you unlock it), you’ll crawl through dungeons, fighting monsters R.P.G.-style, while collecting loot in the form of hats for your Mii to wear in the Plaza.  Every time you pass the same person, they will level up on your system and get stronger, so having roommates with 3DS systems is a big bonus.  In Puzzle Swap, you copy pieces of a jigsaw puzzle with your friends, in an attempt to fill it out and create a little 3D cinematic.  You can spend your play coins to gamble on getting a new piece, but the chances of getting a new piece decrease as your puzzle fills out.

Keep on the pulse!  Nintendo occasionally sends out notifications through its e-shop that certain games will be made free to download for a period of time.  I’ve picked up Zelda: Four Swords and 3D Classics: Excitebike so far, and often a new game will include its prequel, or 3D Classics version as a preorder bonus.

Join the club! is a service that allows you to register your games and earn rewards, such as messenger bags and free VC Games (See: Previous paragraph).

BONUS: Online gaming on the move.  If you have a phone with a data plan and a “portable Wi Fi hotspot” capability from 3G to 4G, you can enjoy some online Kid Icarus matches from work, or school, or the food court at the mall, or anywhere that doesn’t provide a free Wi-Fi connection.

Hopefully, with these tips, you can take full advantage of your 3DS and its games.  Gaming is slowly becoming more than just the games themselves, and with the upcoming Nintendo Wii U including features such as its own built in TV Channels and social networking, gamers themselves are evolving to make their worlds bigger as well.

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Third Parties need to talk to Nintendo about getting their R.P.G.s released world-wide.

(Update March 2013): Project X Zone is scheduled for release in Region 1 in April of 2013!

Sin and Punishment, Captain Rainbow, Mother 3, Pandora’s Tower, Dragon Quest Collection, Project X Zone… the list goes on.  Games that you watch get developed right in front of your eyes, and wait for the announcement that it will be localized.  As the gamer, you wait, and wait, and wait, while games that are lesser in your sight get made, announced for localization before they’re even done, and released to your local game store shelves eliciting little more than a shrug from you, and not a penny from your wallet.  You need to put money down on that gem you’ve had your eye on before any other distractions can even be considered. Yet, the opportunity takes forever to arise. It’s as if Nintendo doesn’t realize that its audience worldwide can see a trailer meant for any particular region, and demand will be generated in those other regions for a game with a brand new intense-looking battle system, or a crossover story between three developers’ characters!  Here’s the first trailer for Project X Zone, that’s already been mirrored lot of times on youtube alone:

There have been many fan efforts to get the Nintendos of Japan, Europe and America to work harder in bringing over the games that the gaming audience wants to see, and to focus a little less on their “safe” franchises.  I mean, I love good Mario titles as much as the next guy, but I’ve never waited on getting Mario games until N.S.M.B. Wii.  Why?  Because I wanted to make sure my gaming money was going towards quality Wii R.P.G.s first and foremost, and I still had some to buy, such as Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Shiren the Wanderer, and Phantom Brave: We Meet Again.  Similarly, I’ll wait on picking up N.S.M.B. 2 because of the money I will spend on 3DS titles, I’d like to place a preorder on Code Of Princess, Soul Hackers and Shin Megami Tensei IV before even thinking about a new Mario game at this time.

Besides which, I haven’t even completed the extra stages in Super Mario 3D Land.  I’ve been playing Devil Survivor 2, Heroes of Ruin, Kid Icarus (It’s got an R.P.G.’s amount of production value, plot, and dialogue in it), and Dragon Quest IX.  Yes, I’m still playing that after all this time, so I really don’t feel the rush to get 1 million coins in N.S.M.B. 2, especially now after hearing that roughly 50’000’000’000 coins have been collectively collected already. There’s the Paper Mario series, of which “Sticker Star” I’ll probably buy at launch, but I might end up waiting on actually playing it until my more “cohesive canon R.P.G.s” are done with.

Sure, one could simply learn Japanese and import a console, or one could simply import the European version, or one could simply download illegal copies of games that have been taking forever to come out in your region, build translation patches, and distribute them for free, but most gamers would rather support good game companies, and fund more games that are outside that safe zone, that tell stories in more compelling ways, that have battle systems that bring video game intensity to new heights.

This is an alert to all the companies that dropped the ball on bringing big titles to the wildly successful Wii console.  Get contracts written up with Nintendo regarding the Wii U, to bring some fantastic R.P.G.s to it, advertise them, and localize them worldwide.  You know that the Wii U will be at least as successful as the Wii. Don’t underestimate it this time.  With that unique game pad with its own screen, I expect to see some new and epic Wii U R.P.G.s showing up at my stores.

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How To Better: Kid Icarus: Uprising

This image turned out a lot bigger than I intended it to

Wow, I can’t believe how many hours I’ve sunk into this compelling game!  At first, this would seem like the perfect game.  The graphics are stylish and smooth, especially with the 3D slider at maximum.  The gameplay is fast and the controls are precise, customizable and all-around a perfect match for this kind of action game.  The dual screens are used to maximum effect, showing an extra angle on characters while they’re talking, some space on which to display subtitles, and offering bits of info on your special attacks, powers, and the intensity of the current stage!  The sound is divine, with orchestrated numbers that bring up references to the old Kid Icarus games of course, but also Star Wars, Pirates of the Carribean, and others if you can find a break from the constant action to search for them.  The online could very well replace FPS games entirely for me.  I could go on and on, but after approximately 100 hours of playing, some flaws do make themselves evident, as there is always room for improvement (and hopefully room for a sequel, no matter what Sakurai says!)

A Lightning-based skill-set?  Flashy!

Phosphora, captain of Viridi’s troops.

Cooperative Campaigns (together mode, both online and off):  I realize that the more modes there are, the less chance that enough people will want to play any one particular mode, but there NEEDS to me more exposure on the characters that were introduced in the chapters of Uprising.  Magnus and Phosphora seem to have gotten fanbases of their own, and during the story of KI:U Phosphora seems to have developed a position as the “star-soldier” of Viridi’s Troops, and Magnus to the humans, just as Pit is to Palutena’s Army.  Perhaps there could be a multi-player story where participants chose between the three (or more) main characters and took on the forces of evil together.  They could either have their own set powers, or have powers interpreted in their style.  For example, “Heavenly Light” for Pit, would translate to an electrical field for Phosphora, and perhaps a wall of shields for Magnus.  It could be that you could have a random game chosen from the online selection, or a voting system similar to the CONDUIT titles for Wii.  However it happens, I just want it to happen!

Warriors currently take your favourite colour for their armour. A few more options for customization wouldn’t hurt.

Custom online warriors/angels: Customizable armour pieces in varying styles.  If the game turns out to be balanced enough to allow us to play around with armour stats, we could add whole new dimensions to the meta-game of a potential Kid Icarus: Uprising 2, not to mention dimensions of style, as well.

Gem Cutting: Using “gems” as the MacGuffin for StreetPass interactions opens up a world of possibilities.  What if you could cut the gems, polish them up a bit, before pulling the desired weapon out of them?  For example, I would imagine a “Cut” option, where you could take one desirable facet off of a particular weapon (rendering the rest of the gem unusable if it would help keep things balanced), perhaps take the “Overall Defence +1” off of one gem and fuse it into a gem containing Beam Claws with “Overall Defence +1”, resulting in a set of Beam Claws with “Overall Defence +2”?  Of course, to prevent it from being too easy to create any weapon instantly, the moment you choose to “Fuse” rather than “Cut” a gem, the resulting weapon emerges, complete with its normal heart-cost, and is subject to the normal rules of weapon-fusing afterwards.  Similarly, a “Polish” option might allow someone to increase one or more skills or stars, perhaps just by pouring hearts into the gem, before extracting the weapon.

Well, there you have it, just a couple quick ideas on how to make this fantastic game just a little bit better.  Let’s hear your suggestions in the comments!  Meanwhile, I’ve got to get back to playing more!

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Intelligent Systems + Atlus = Shin Megami Emblem?

Breaking news coming from an anonymous inside source at Nintendo suggest that a Fire Emblem styled Shin Megami Tensei game is on the drawing board for the Wii U.  Tentatively given the title of “Devil Survivor Ultimate” I do not know whether this means a rebalancing of Devil Survivor 1, (or Overclocked or 2), a new Devil Survivor 3, or a side-story, but after Pokémon X Nobunaga’s Ambition, I’m ready for anything.

This will be the first time that two of the Big 5 jRPG franchises will have crossed over (to form an RPG) in the history of video games.

Personally, I’m hoping for an online title in which a global demon-infestation occurs (as is the tradition for SMT games), and individual trainers can band together or go it alone in online tactical battles.  I would imagine that there would be incentives not only for PvE but PvP as well (Law/Chaos/Neutral factions?)

Then again, with Dragon Quest X already headed to the Wii and Wii U, I have to wonder if there would be room for another online RPG within the same time frame.  Perhaps Nintendo is preparing a backup plan for when Dragon Quest X has run its course and the RPGing audience is ready for the next “Big Thing.”

I’m sorry I can’t dress up this post like my others, but I’m just posting this as I hear it.

Updates as they happen.

Update: The source was confirmed to be the same one claiming that the Wii U was less powerful than the PS3 and Xbox 360 and that you would only be able to use one controller with the system.  In other words, nobody.  In other words, April Fool’s!

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I would like to see them go the route that Koei Tecmo did with Dead or Alive Dimensions. K-T included the whole DoA story in Dimensions, so it would be great to see that in a Darkstalkers Wii U game (Darkstalkers Universal?)

My Nintendo News

Venture Beat, the publication that announced Resident Evil 6 and its characters before Capcom officially showed off the game to the world, is reporting that Darkstalkers 4 is currently in development at Capcom. Darkstalkers 4 has apparently been in development since last year, and is produced by Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter X Tekken producer Yoshinori Ono. We should hear more about the game at Capcom’s Captivate event.

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How Can I Get My Hands on This Wiimote?

Wow! Gotta love seeing gamers represent at conventions!

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How To Better: Fortune Street

a.k.a. Monopoly with the Stock Market

Fortune Street has brought a lot to the video board-gaming table, with a large cast of characters that have reams of dialogue written into them, and a second set of customizable clothes and personalities for your Mii to show off while playing online.  Oh yeah, and there’s online play, a first for a video board game!  This is also the first game in the Fortune Street series to hit western shores (Itadaki Street as it’s known in Japan), and you’ll see a lot of references to games like Monopoly and Power Grid.  If you were expecting something like Mario Party, you will be very surprised, as Fortune Street eschews minigame-skill in favour of investment savvy in determining the winners.

So far, I have only played Standard Rules, not wanting to get used to playing on easy before getting swamped with a complicated new layer of rules afterward.  After getting a good bout of playtime with it, I’ve finally come up with some tips on how to improve the experience for any sequels that may show up:

The tutorial for this game is quite short and easy, and only covers the core strategy.

Expand the tutorial mode to include different tips and tricks for advanced players.  Is it better to buy stock and then invest in your shops, or vice versa?  When is it advantageous to force buy-out your competitors, early-game or late?  For now, most of the answers to these questions lie in practicing, practicing, and practicing  on the board(s) of your choice.  In adding to the tutorial, specifically for late-game scenarios, you expand the userbase of competitors that know how to handle various late game circumstances such as having stock in a  district that won’t rise in value anymore, or dominating spaces that players can easily avoid.

Allow game owners to download a mini-version of the game to their 3DS systems, to practice, or to distribute as a demo, and play on the go.  The demo version could include the simplest board (Trodain castle) and its featured characters (along with your Mii, Princessa, Platypunk and Slime).  Not only would this get the word out on the game better, it would also allow prospective rivals to get a feel of the game before they buy it.

Allow players to re-roll the die.  You know those times when luck just doesn’t seem to be on your side?  “Don’t give me a 1, anything but a 1!”  You roll the die, and it’s a 1, causing you to land on the ridiculously expensive spot and pay out your remaining worth.
I know that this series has been around for decades, AND that because it’s made with board gamers in mind, things like this will happen and are even expected to happen once in a while, and a lot of research and development has gone into to to make it balanced, but even knowing this, it seems like there are times when the CPU “cheats” and rolls you exactly the number you don’t need, 3 or 4 times in a row.  To balance it out and increase the appeal for non-board-savvy video gamers, it could be a toggle-able option (easy-mode) that the player can switch off. It could be an ability that recharges, for example, you can only do this at most often once every five turns.

These are just a few quick ideas I’ve been able to come up with for this particular game.  It’s pretty close to perfect as far as video board-games go for me.  If you have any other ideas, post them in the comments and they may get added to the article!

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