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2:29 PM on 03.29.2011

Online Service will Make or Break Nintendo 3DS

The Nintendo 3DS, a thing that you play video games on, came out a few days ago and was met with a seemingly modest, yet successful, launch day. Everyone will be raving about it for the next few weeks, play SSFIV3D or Pokemon White/Black on it all day, and be excited for E3ís 3DS offerings this upcoming June.

Itís not all happy times in 3DSland though, when you take into account the worrisome ďBlack Screen of DeathĒ issues popping up, lack of quality launch games, and infamously mediocre battery life. Those issues will eventually be forgotten or remedied. BSoD may be fixed with a simple firmware update because itís a software issue, better games will eventually come out for the newborn system, and the battery life can be fixed with a third party battery or new SKU in the future. There is one issue that Nintendo must take more seriously than any of the previously mentioned. That one issue is their online service.

Despite the name of the system, 3D isnít going to determine how big a success the 3DS will be, it will be how they approach online gaming with the new handheld. As you all may know, Nintendo isnít exactly known for embracing the world for online gaming. Due to their paranoia of sticking to their ďfamily-friendlyĒ image, online gaming is a road that they have treaded on with much caution. Much to their detriment, this extremely cautious approach has made their online features very barebones and inconvenient on the Wii and DS. With the 3DS, they have fixed some of these issues by adding a friends list, lessening the annoyance of friend codes by sticking them onto one system, and the introduction of the Street Pass system which may or may not be a success here in the grand olí USA.

Despite recent strides, Nintendo still canít get the internet right. Friends list are barebones and unfriendly to organization. You still canít send messages or game invites in 2011 for some ridiculous reason. And you canít access you friendís Mii for the Mii Plaza which feels like a missed opportunity. It makes you wonder if Nintendo even bothered to take notes from their competitorís superior services in XBL and PSN. For a company that boasts about bringing social gaming to the next level, you would think online would be more of a priority for them. I understand StreetPass is their main focus, but it seems to be more of a Japan centric feature due to the dense population, and the popularity of the DS.

I get that the big draw of Nintendoís handhelds arenít the online play, or fancy features, but the consistently strong line-up of games it brings to the table. Problem is, Sony is going all out with the NGP (god that name sucks), and I am absolutely certain their online service at launch will be superior to the 3DSí current offering. If they want the 3DS to stay number one in the portable market, they need to update the shit out of the 3DS to even hope to compete with whatever Sony has planned for the NGP.

The eShop is also something Nintendo must get right if the 3DS will have any chance in the increasingly competitive portable market. The emergence of apps in the past few years led by Appleís iOS and Googleís Android is something I believe Nintendo should take seriously. Despite the apathy towards garage developers, these devs could immensely help the 3DS become a more flexible device. Nintendoís already on a good start with Netflix support, why not expand on that? A Pokemon app that allows you to trade and battle with friends on future 3DS Pokemon games would be a stellar feature. Add some social interactivity and a a tournament mode and you got yourself a beefy app. This could be the closest we get to a Pokemon MMO. Or maybe an app that allows you use Twitter on your 3DS except itís convenient and doesnít suck like the Xbox 360ís Twitter support. Hell, an app that expands on the AR card concept would breathe more life into it. Nintendo having an app store that interacts with their games would be a huge draw for people, and would improve the 3DS experience immensely.

Game pricing is also very important and something Nintendo cannot screw up if they want to remain top dog. The iOS and Android platforms have had some success with mobile games by having their games priced at a reasonable dollar or a few. Nintendoís chance at holding an influential portable market is thereís for the taking. For example, pricing Metroid Fusion for the GBA on the Virtual Console (Handheld?) at $20 will surely bring about some laughter by gamers following some disappointment at your inability to price reasonably. Pricing it at $1-$5, will create some good will and a lot of sales along with respectability for your store.

The biggest issue that needs to be addressed is the friends system. Itís a good start by Nintendo, but sending messages and game invites would do wonders and cement the online foundation. Organizing your friends list by who is online and who isnít would also help and give userís less headaches after adding their 100th friend. Expanding a personís profile to include a mini-bio and other info would help out in Nintendoís quest to improve social gaming. Let userís try StreetPass with their friends and exchange Street Fighter figurines or our Miis.

If Nintendo implements even 50% of these suggestions onto the 3DS then I believe it will be the ultimate gaming device, and I will love it long time. The 3DS has an amazing amount of potential and I would hate for it to be squandered just because Nintendo is afraid of the internet. Iím currently playing SSFIV3D and I have to contact my cousin through the phone in order to get him to play online with me. If Nintendo adds a simple invite feature in the coming months, then the 3Ds may be in good hands.   read

11:28 AM on 06.30.2010

I may finally buy a PS3 this year.

Itís been a while since I last blogged on here (it was actually my first blog), and Iíve decided to blow the dust off my account.

Anyway, of all the current-gen consoles, I only own an Xbox 360 and a Wii. This is due to the fact that it started out at an absurd high price point ($599 USD), the games library were lackluster for the first two years, the screenshot comparisons were usually in the 360ís favor early on, I was content with my Xbox 360 to consider getting a PS3, and that Sony were absolute fucktards during those first two years of the PS3 lifespan.

However, the PS3 has hit its stride as of late. They have some critically acclaimed exclusives like Uncharted 2, Demonís Souls, LittleBigPlanet, and Metal Gear Solid 4 out right now. They have more great looking exclusives coming out like Final Fantasy XIV, Trinity Universe, and LittleBigPlanet 2. Itís at a reasonable price point for $300. And finally, I can complete my trifecta of video game consoles this generation. (Okay thatís not a big deal XD)

These are the 2 games that interest me the most and hopefully may interest you as well:

LittleBigPlanet 2

I played the first LBP a bit over at a cousinís house and I liked what it had to offer. The concept of customizing your own character (sackboy) appealed to my creative side, and was helped by the fact that you could make him/her into absolutely anything. I remember being able to play as Kratos, and it was quite neat that you could do that. The stage customization was huge for me because I have a hard-on for well designed platforming games. My biggest gripe was the way the sackboy was controlled. The jumping was too sluggish and I had to retry a level multiple times because of how shitty the sackboy controlled. Maybe it was because I sucked but I digress.

Fortunately, LittleBigPlanet 2 seems to fix that problem and a whole lot more. What has me most excited is the fact that the developers added multiple GENRES into the game. You canít even call it a platformer anymore. It might as well be its own console itself! The fact that you can play RPGs on this makes it already a purchase for me. The 3D space shooter looked like Star Fox, which is not a bad thing. While I donít know much about the sharing features of the LittleBigPlanet games, I can see myself spending hours making stuff just like I do on Halo 3 and sharing it. Overall, LittleBigPlanet 2 is the game Iím most hyped for. It might be the biggest game of this generation. If there is a PS3 + LBP2 bundle (which Sony would be stupid not to consider), then Iím snatching that shit up!

Valkyria Chronicles

The current-gen consoles havenít been nice to the JRPG genre. There really hasnít been a hit JRPG out there like a Xenogears or Persona 4 that receives little to no criticism and is proclaimed a masterpiece. Final Fantasy XIII has been hit with the most criticism Iíve ever seen in a Final Fantasy game. Lost Odyssey was decent but not ďgreatĒ in the eyes of many, and it did feature some old game mechanics. However, there is one game that, from what I saw, gave people what they wanted in a superb JRPG.

That game is Valkyria Chronicles. In the reviews Iíve read, the story is unmatched compared to others in the genre. The gameplay is just complex yet rewarding. And the graphics had a nice painting feel to it. Itís also a JRPG that models after WWII! How crazy is that!? You would think that only FPS and RTS games would do that! Anyway, Iím in dire need of a ďgreatĒ JPRG and this looks like the perfect game for me.

So I pretty much love RPGs and am hoping LBP2 is bundled with the PS3 Slim. I am also interested in Final Fantasy XIV, but I know next to nothing about it other than that itís an MMO and that it has trailers that make no sense. If there is anyone out there who has played Final Fantasy XI, what should I expect out of Final Fantasy XIV? Anyway, thank you for reading. I hope to stay a bit longer this time.   read

3:11 PM on 12.14.2009

My gamer life.

Hello everyone! I just wanted to give you all an introduction before I start blogging on this site. This is the story of how videogames shaped who I am today.

Beginning days
I've been gaming since I was at the ridiculously young age of 3. My first ever game was Sonic The Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis. Despite my short attention span I kept playing until I finally beat the whole game with all 7 chaos emeralds (which took me 2 years). This prompted me to become a huge Sonic fan (oh the torment). The moment I began playing is when my life would never be the same again. You see I was a timid kid. I hated being the center of attention and I had low self-esteem issues. Video games were one of the few things I was good at. I wasn't very athletic so sports were out of the question. I did get good grades but I was anti-social. I sucked at drawing and I couldn't play instruments if my life depended on it. Video games helped me escape from real life and give me something to look forward to. Whether it'd be kicking Robotnik's ass in the Sonic games, beating Phantasy Star IV for the 8th time, or winning 55-7 in Madden 96. I have to admit my childhood wasn't all that bad.

My one and only love, the Dreamcast
Jump to 1999! I still had only one console and was thinking of what ask for X-Mas. I had the choice of either a Playstation with a crap load of awesome games or a newly released Dreamcast with a revamped Sonic game and powerhouse graphics. You can already tell what I chose. That's when I became the so-called "hardcore" gamer. The system was nothing like I ever played before. 3D graphics!? Online multiplayer!? Big ass memory cards!? I was blown away! (Mind you I was like 9). I played awesome games like Sonic Adventure, Grandia II, and Power Stone to weird quirky games like Crazy Taxi, Chu Chu Rocket, and Jet Set Radio. So many memories of that console but unfortunately those days weren't meant to last. The Dreamcast was discontinued. I felt the same way Tiger Woods fans feel today. Bewildered and betrayed. I had no other systems other than an outdated Genesis and my Game Boy Color. It was my favorite console and it was dying.

My obsession with Halo 2
After the Dreamcast tragedy I had to choose between the PS2, Gamecube, or Microsoftís first console the Xbox. I honestly didnít know what to choose at the time. The only exposure to Nintendo for me was my aforementioned Game Boy Color and playing with my friends N64. I despised Sony for killing the Dreamcast and the Xbox hardly had any RPGs. In the end, I went with the Xbox simply because of their new online service and that the (revised) controller reminded me of the Dreamcast a bit. I made a great choice for many reasons but the number one de facto reason why I liked the Xbox was simply because of this gameÖHalo 2. Now I know what youíre thinking ďPfftÖ Itís only natural that some little kid(I was 12 in 04) likes the most overrated game everĒ But wait! Thereís so much more as to why I loved Halo 2. You see, I loved it because of both the multiplayer and the campaign. Now Iíll go into better detail in another blog but I thought switching the perspectives between Master Chief and the Arbiter was a solid technique in storytelling and the plot twists at the end certainly compelled me. The multiplayer community was actually pretty decent when Halo 2 first came out. This was before all the racist homophobic 10 year olds and loud annoying frat boys ruined it all. I had a blast playing ďZombiesĒ or ďTower of PowerĒ and the friends I made online gave me some hilarious and interesting times. Iíve never had more fun in any videogame than I had with Halo 2.

I'm now just a normal 18 year old in college and I have no idea what the hell to do with myself. I have an Xbox 360, PS2, and a Wii. My favorite genres are RPGs, shooters, platformers, and anything fresh and original. I'm generally a laid-back person and it's difficult to actually anger me. As for what I might be going into in college. Iíve been thinking about going into some kind of writing since I never had a problem with writing a lot. This is partly why I decided to start a C-blog. After lurking for a few years I decided to break my silence and talk about my favorite hobby with you all. Hopefully this is the start of an awesome time here at Destructoid.

So I hope that was a good enough intro for you guys so hereís to hoping that I don't suck. ^_^   read

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