Sunday, August 16, 2015

So Long, Club Nintendo

As you've probably heard, Club Nintendo recently shut down a few weeks ago, after having been open since 2008 in North America, and since much earlier in other regions. I don't believe Nintendo's announced the reason for discontinuing it, although they've said they plan to make a new rewards program.

Anyway, I've been using Club Nintendo since around 2011, and over the years I've managed to collect quite a few prizes from registering my games. I know North America often got the short end of the stick in terms of prizes, but I still really enjoyed spending my coins on various items, and I'll be sad to see it go.

As a sort of send-off for Club Nintendo, I thought I would make a post showcasing all the various collectables I've gotten from the service. Since the website is now actually closed down, I won't be able to check my rewards history, so there's a chance that I might be forgetting some things. (Probably should have thought of that before it shut down. Oh well.)

One of my first rewards, I believe, was the Majora's Mask soundtrack you see on the left. I can't quite remember what year I got it, but I believe it was the Platinum reward for 2012. Maybe 2011.

Then, as you can see, there's the Smash Bros. for 3DS/Wii U soundtrack on the right, which I got earlier this year for registering both versions of the game.

Some time later, as a bonus for registering some game (Super Mario 3D World, I believe), I was able to get the digital version of Pikmin 3 for free. I meant to pick this up in the summer of 2013 when it came out, but I never really had the funds to do so, so I had to pass it up. When I later learned that I could get it for free, I downloaded it sometime after Christmas 2013 (that's when I got 3D World).

A bit later, (or maybe earlier?) I picked up this 3-poster A Link Between Worlds set. It might have actually been the Platinum reward for 2013, but I'm not sure. I remember I never got Platinum in 2012, but I did in 2013, so it makes sense this would be it. 

Personally, my favorite is the one on the bottom, with Link looking out over the lake. I loved this artwork when I first saw it, so I was thrilled to get it in poster form. The other 2 posters are cool, too.

This was my Platinum reward for 2014, after they (sadly) stopped giving out physical rewards for Platinum and Gold. I still haven't gotten the chance to play it, and I've never played an Animal Crossing game before in my life, so I can't say much about this yet. I'm looking forward to playing it when I have more time, though.

This was one of my last rewards from Club Nintendo. I got this sometime in 2015, or maybe in late 2014. It's a Zelda themed 18-game carrying case, and it's even got some neat artwork on the inside of the cover. It's shaped just like a regular 3DS game case, and it's pretty cool. I've gotten a lot of use out of this.

Lastly, we have this Majora's Mask puzzle. This was part of the final batch of rewards they announced back in February. It was tied for the most expensive one with the Majora's Mask tote bag at 800 coins (most likely to promote Majora's Mask 3D). I figured I would never really get much use out of a tote bag, and I didn't really like the black artwork on a black background look, so I went with the puzzle.

It actually took me quite a bit of time to complete. I've got a few pictures of it while I was still building it:

The absolute hardest part of this puzzle is the part you see left out of the picture above. There are about 40 identical-looking black pieces that form the background, and it's really just a matter of trial and error to get the pieces in the right places. Just look...

These 33 pieces are all the EXACT same shape, with little to no color on them, and you're somehow supposed to figure out where each one goes. Sometimes you get 2 pieces that are so similar, you'll end up putting one in the wrong place thinking it's right, until another piece comes along that doesn't fit with it. It was frustrating, and these few pieces took almost as long as the rest of the puzzle combined.

That, on top of the fact that I'm no good at puzzles whatsoever, made it a bit challenging. When I finished it, though, it looked pretty awesome, and it was still a fun experience.

I was pretty surprised to see that it actually glowed in the dark after I turned off the lights at night. It's a bit hard to see on camera, but I tried to get a few good pictures of it.

I promise, you can see more of it in real life. It's a pretty cool touch.

All in all, I'm going to miss Club Nintendo. I certainly didn't participate in it for as long as I could have, but I still managed to get quite a bit of enjoyment out of the rewards I got. Here's to hoping the next rewards program is even better, and that North America actually gets better prizes this time around.

Thanks, and I'll see you next time!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

E3!!! Yay?

Well, another year, another E3. Luckily, this year I was actually home for the week of E3, so I didn't have to catch up on all the news a week later.

But, in the end, I don't think I could have picked a worse E3 to be at home for.

Now, don't get me wrong, I didn't hate Nintendo's presentation like a whole lot of people did. I didn't even dislike it. They showed some interesting stuff, and I thought it was decent. If I had to describe my feelings in one word, it would be disappointed. Nintendo's E3s in recent years have been amazing and spectacular, with last year's setting the bar incredibly high. But this year, we... really didn't get much. At all.

The biggest new announcement, for sure, was Star Fox Zero. I've never been a huge Star Fox fan, and I've only played 64 and one of the Gamecube ones at a friend's house (Assault, I believe), but I definitely plan to get this one when it comes out. The gameplay looks fun, and despite everyone's complaints about the graphics, I honestly don't see what the problem is. They're not realistic, sure, but when do Nintendo games ever have realistic graphics? The gameplay looks pretty similar to Star Fox 64 with some additional features, and overall it looks pretty fun.

But that was honestly the biggest announcement they had this year, and it was the very first thing they showed.

After a bit they showed Zelda: Tri Force Heroes (still not used to that spelling of "Triforce"), and at first, I thought it was some kind of spinoff. It looks fun, but really similar to Four Swords, and I can't say it's exactly what I was expecting. I like Four Swords quite a bit, but I can't say I prefer it to many other Zelda games. It looks good enough, though, and as usual, I'll be getting it on release day.

My one worry for this game is the online. That seems to be a huge aspect this time around, but I'm really worried about whether Nintendo understands that people love to troll when they're anonymous. I have no idea what they're going to do (if anything) to deal with trolls in this game. Normally, it's not too much of a problem in games, but in Zelda? They could just repeatedly jump into a pit and deplete your heart gauge, or just refuse to move and hinder your progress in the level. It should be interesting how that turns out.

And then, well, the only other announcement I somewhat care about was Metroid Prime: Federation Force. It doesn't look very good, but, it's Metroid, finally. Something is better than nothing... right? I hope so.

Oh, and then that Paper Mario/Mario & Luigi crossover looks pretty good. I've never played any Paper Mario games, and I've only played Dream Team as far as Mario & Luigi goes, but they're both series I plan to play in the near future, so I'm looking forward to this one.

Other than that, we got some information on Xenoblade Chronicles X, although none of it was new, and some more on Yoshi's Wooly World, which we also knew about. Both games look incredible, but as far as the presentation went, we didn't really learn anything new.

The Animal Crossing board game looks absolutely terrible, in my opinion, and I'm not too interested in the actual series, so I'll probably pass on Happy Home Designer. The new Fire Emblem looks pretty good, although I've still got to restart and (hopefully) finish Awakening.

All in all, it was okay. I'm still really upset that there was no Zelda U, though. HOW in the world does it make sense that we got more information a year ago at E3 than we did this year? It's like they went backwards in development. I know a lot of people were pretty upset about that, too.

Anyway, enough ranting for now. Again, I didn't hate E3, but I really think Nintendo made a huge mistake by choosing to show Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival and Tri Force Heroes over Zelda U and maybe a new actual Metroid Prime game. I really hope next year's E3 will be a bit more exciting.

That's all for now, though. Take care.