Staaay Fresh! Understanding the hype that is Splatoon.

If you’re into gaming, there’s a good chance you’ve already heard of this game. Heck, you might even own it. It’s the quirky, and definitely addictive “shooter” game from Nintendo, Splatoon. It’s been out since late May, but during the birthday weekend (13th), I finally picked it up.

MKGL Splatoon They see me rollin'

I remember when I first heard about it, I was like “what the heck is this game?!” And not in a “OMG MUST HAVE DAY 1” sort of way. I seriously couldn’t wrap my head around it. Even after it came out, I was a little hesitant. I knew it looked fun, and some of the others in my gaming league were raving… but… I mean. Squid people?!

I’ve had the game for less than a week, and I can tell you, if you have a Wii U, you should definitely pick this up.

Ok. So here’s the background that you need to know: Yes, this gets labeled as a “shooter” game, but really it’s more than that. It almost feels like some sort of old school playground game mixed in with elements of shooting games. I’ve never played paintball, maybe it’s like that… but we did A LOT of variations on capture the flag style games at summer camp. And this brings back those memories.

Now, I don’t like traditional shooting games. Running around killing things doesn’t really get me going. Running around trying to paint the entire map, defending your area, and taking out the enemy? Yeah, I can get behind that. And that’s basically what you’re doing in Splatoon. Your kill count doesn’t effect the final score. It’s all about who got the most paint on the ground. The battles are quick, just 3-minutes. And it’s so, so easy to catch yourself saying “just one more” for a couple hours before you finally put it down.

There’s also a 1-player story mode. I haven’t really gotten into that much yet, mainly because I keep working on leveling up and increasing my rank in battles. But I’ve heard many awesome things about the story mode, and if you want to take a good look at it, TJ‘s started filming them and you can check out the first video here.

Here are some of my initial thoughts regarding Splatoon’s battle mode:

» This is a game of percentages. It’s all about how much of the map you covered. Sometimes you’ll win big, sometimes you’ll lost hard. (As you can see below.) You can have 25 kills, but it doesn’t mean your team is going to win. Focus on the map and take out other players defensively. Don’t be that dick who lies hiding by the other team’s base sniping people right after they’ve respawned. (Not cool… just not cool.)

Photo Jun 15, 5 45 16 PM Photo Jun 16, 4 53 16 PM

» Definitely experiment with the different weapons. Each work for a different kind of game play. After about 10 hours I think I’ve found what works best for me, but a lot of times winning just depends on team work. Sometimes you get teamed up with people who really know how to support others on a team. Other times you get people who just go solo and don’t assist.

» Watch the map when you can. You’ll be able to watch your teammates, super jump to them if need be, and see the opposing team’s activity. Obviously, if you’re in the thick of things you can’t always spare a moment to look down. You can get a general idea of how your team is doing from the top of the screen. If your squids are big, it means you’re in the lead. If any squids have an X over them, that means someone was splatted (aka killed). If you’re not keeping an eye on your map, you can lose major ground.

» This may seem obvious, but for the love of Judd, COVER THE MAP. Get your base and the areas near by. Last thing you want to do is spend the last minute scrambling to cover land you could have gotten in the first 15 seconds, and it leaves it open for the opposing team to nab it. Seriously, nothing frustrates me more than seeing rollers run out to the middle and get in tangles with the enemy while the area by the base is left bare.

» Getting away from tactics and such… This game is just fun. It’s all bright colors: neon green, yellow, pink, bright blue, dark blue, fuchsia-y purple, bright orange… And then you’ve got all the weapons. Giant paint rollers and brushes, various squirt guns, even an NES zapper. There are special weapons like a missile launcher that creates a paint tornado-waterspout. Or one that creates a sonic boom and knocks out enemies in range (called the Killer Wail). The arenas have a surprising amount of places to explore. Also, I actually really like the music. You have all these bright colors and cute characters doing a silly thing like painting everything, and there’s this pseudo-metal in the background. I love it.

Splatoon: Inkling Rini

And then there’s the inklings. At first you’re all like “squid people? really?” … But yeah, the inklings grow on you. I mean, check out my girl. So fresh! (And yes, I’m #TeamCats.)


Wii Fit U Challenge Update – Week 3: SO. CLOSE.

WiiFitU Brand Ambassador Challenge Green TeamWeek Three results are in! It’s definitely a close race. The challenge is going strong, and we’re currently in the middle of the final week… and the Green Team is ready for this final push!

But before we get to that, it’s time to share the results!

Distance
Blue Team (#WiiFitBlu) – 1223.9 miles
Green Team (#OnLikeDK) – 1217.5 miles
Yellow Team (#TeamYellow) – 712.13 miles
Red Team (#TeamRedHot) – 672.2 miles

6.3 miles behind the Blue Team! So it’s definitely going to be a strong race to the end. I’ve now managed 117.5 miles, passing the first check point in the game, and once again took the individual honors in distance. Also, Joey and I took partnership honors.

Wii Fit U week 3 check in

Altitude
Green Team (#OnLikeDK) – 61,565 feet
Blue Team (#WiiFitBlu) – 45,137 feet
Yellow Team (#TeamYellow) – 21,289 feet
Red Team (#TeamRedHot) – 20,126 feet

Yet again, we’ve dominated the altitude. And yet again, Katie has taken individual honors with 6,548 feet total. She also snatched up the partnership honors too, with a combined total of 13,539 feet.

This current week is proving hard to me. A storm pulled through town last weekend, and with it came winter temperatures. It’s hard motivating yourself to go out and do your daily 5k walk when it’s 13° F out, not including the windchill coming off the lake! I’ve got my first official 5K this weekend, so I do need to get out and prep at some point. But I’m waiting until midday when it’s in the 20s.

But regardless, I’ve got it in my head that I’m going to get to the second check point this week, Venice. It’s doable. But yeah, I’m just being a baby about the cold. Also, walking for 5 hours at the Field Museum wore me out a bit. (But hey, it’s one way of getting in a lot of step inside where it’s warm!)

Again, as a Brand Ambassador, Nintendo sent me and my partner Wii Fit U Meters for the challenge. All opinions are my own.

*Also, originally I thought the Yellow Team’s hashtag was #HelloYellow, but I’ve most recently seen #TeamYellow. Not sure which they’re using.


Nintendo Enthused: how Chase McCain won my heart and completely absorbed me into the world of Lego City.

Guys. I have a new obsession. And I’m not the only one caught in its grips.

I am absolutely in love with the new Lego City: Undercover game for the Wii U.

I let the game sit for a couple weeks when it first arrived.  I knew I wanted to play it, but wasn’t ready to start a new game just yet. So Memorial Day weekend, I finally loaded up the game and sat down to start the adventure. I played for well over 36 hours that weekend. 24 hours just to beat the storyline. Almost any time I was awake, I had the game on. And I still generally play at least 3 nights a week after work after finishing the storyline. That’s just how addicting this game is.

LegoCityUndercoverThe story follows Chase McCain, Lego City cop who’s returned after being exiled. The villan he’d put behind bars previously, Rex Fury, has escaped and McCain’s on the trail to put him behind bars again! Ok, so a lot more goes on that just that. The story is written fairly well, and honestly, there’s some great dialogue in this game.

For one thing, there’s some great references throughout the game, including some of my favorites to the Super Mario franchise. Not really a surprise, given that this is the first Lego title to be published by Nintendo rather than a 3rd party. Also, one of my favorite characters was one that insisted he was not Morgan Freeman.

Speaking of characters, you’ve got 8 main character types to play as, each with their own special skills. Civilian, Police, Robber, Miner, Astronaut, Farmer, Firefighter, and Construction Worker. Now that I’ve beat the main story, I going through and unlocking the remander of the characters and vehicles, and completing all the side missions. I won’t spoil things, but an astronaut riding a pig is totally normal. And as you’ll see below, there’s a lot to keep you occupied in this game.

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 9.58.56 AM(photo by Naramsin via Miiverse)

Part of me wishes I would have spent more time doing some of these smaller missions throughout the storyline game play, but since you have to unlock abilities, it pretty much guarantees that you’ll have to go back after finishing. And the Lego City world is huge, so you’ll spend a lot of time running around this open world game. I know there are some downloadable missions through actual Lego City purchases (like, the real life brick sets the game is modeled after), so I might be tempted to do that. Pretty easy to say I’d love for this storyline to continue. (So much so, I’m probably going to get the the prequel on 3DS.)

The gameplay sort of mirrors that of the Grand Theft Auto series, but you’re the good guy and there are no half-naked women for you to abuse. (THANK YOU.) You can however, run over people, luckily citizens of Lego City are mostly use to this. And you can, and should, go around destroying every possible thing you can. There’s something almost cathartic about running around as a miner destroying the city with a pick axe. Also, when you keep a good line of destruction with your vehicle, you can rack up multiplying bonuses for brick collection (see below). You’ll need to collect bricks and studs (basically coins) to purchase new characters and vehicles and complete super builds. With the city rebuilding itself constantly, it’s not too hard to do this.

5x bricks (photo by joshua via Miiverse) 5x bricks (photo by joshua via Miiverse)

Overall, this is a great game. Definitely family friendly, but one adults can appreciate too. Easily one of the best Lego series I’ve tried, and personally, I think it’s a great game to highlight using the gamepad for the Wii U.

I absolutely love it. Even if I sometimes suck at Chicken Gliding. Seriously, it’s a thing. Below was a particularly hard glide for me. Hate admitting it, but I probably spent an hour on this one task.

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 9.48.58 AM

But look at that scene. Look at the sunset. THERE IS A FREAKING GLOWING SUNSET AND IT’S BEAUTIFUL. I’m extremely thankful the developers weren’t just “oh, it’s just a Lego game, no need to go in crazy detail…” Just playing this game you can tell a lot of thought went into it.

In fact, so much, that after playing for hours and hours and hours, I now can’t do anything without seeing it in terms of Lego City and bricks. Lego City just has a little bit of everything, and I think that’s what makes it feel a little like home.

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 9.49.38 AM

Oh. And beware of sharks. Seriously. That first one scared the crap out of me.

The last two images were my own, taken during game play through the in-game camera.

Nintendo and Brand About Town provided me with this game as a thank you gift for hosting a Wii U party. I was not asked or compensated to write this post, and all opinions are my own.


some things that have been going on…

Happy Friday!

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to what will hopefully be both a productive and relaxing weekend.

Here are some things that have been going on or are about to happen…

New Years Eve
It was a blast. I had some good sushi for dinner. The Mucca show was phenomenal and I got to see another favorite band of mine, Jon Drake & The Shakes. There was a great NYE countdown cheer. I rocked my new black tube socks, and I got a Jon Drake shirt! Just spending with great people… not sure I could ask for much more.

Wii U
I’m starting a new game once I get back from tour. Just trying to figure out which one! Options are: Marvel Avengers, Assassin’s Creed 3, Epic Mickey 2, and ZombiU. Also related: a #NintendoEnthused Wii U party coming soon!

Disconnecting
I’m sort of really looking forward to disconnecting while on tour. It didn’t start out as something I intentionally did, but I just get so wrapped up in enjoying the tour that I don’t even think about social media or the internet. I don’t have to worry about any drama or bad/negative attitudes, just enjoy the company of the amazing people around me.

Writer’s Studio
My class starts on Tuesday. Of course, I won’t be there… but classes are starting up again! New instructor. Same classmates (minus one). A lot of writing needs to get done. (Which is why I’ve stepped back from other projects/responsibilities.)

Overall, I’m doing well. There are a few small annoyances here and there… but you know, you can’t let them ruin your day. Just got to breath, and move past it. Some things are out of your control and you’ve got to accept it.

Anyway. I’m happy. I’ve got 7 days with some of my favorite people ever coming up, and it’ll do me some good.


my quest for the Wii U

So, as previously stated, I could not wait for the Wii U to come out. The anticipation for Sunday was sort of making me a little crazy.

Saturday, I spent most of the day trying to distract myself. Which by late in the night meant cruising the #WiiU tag on instagram and following news on twitter. Watching the east coast and their midnight launch.

Sunday… well, that’s where this adventure really got started.

My alarm was set just before 6am. I had everything planned out: Target opened at 8am. I knew the crazy reroutes for transit, having 3 stations near me closed. And headed on my way just before 6:30am. In which, that whole transit thing didn’t work, so I flagged a cab and darted off.

I had checked the website last night, and this Target was supposed to have both units in stock. I get there and an employee told me they only had three—and I was the third person in line, WOOT. But they only had the standard models, no woot.

So I hopped in a cab and went downtown to the Best Buy at the John Hancock building. I got there around 7am. They didn’t open until 10am. I was first in line.

I got a few weird looks. At least one person asked if there was an event or if they were opening early. Nope. I was just waiting. At one point a manager opened the door with a confused look on her face. “Are you waiting for something?” “The Wii U. I’m just insane.” Since I had so much time to kill, I turned to podcasts. Mind you, it’s in the 30’s outside. I’ve got on jeans, boots, long sleeve shirt, fall peacoat, and a scarf. Not long after my hat and fingerless gloves.

By 8:30am, one other person joined me in line. About 15 minutes later, another. Both had been to the Target on State Street (not the one I went to); apparently there were only 5 in stock. Maybe 5 minutes later the manager came out, “oh, I thought it was just you.. hold on, which one did you want?”

By 9am the manager came back with bright orange reserve tickets. “They’ll be waiting at customer service. I don’t want you to freeze.”

So I promptly marched myself next door to Water Tower Place, and got me a large hot chocolate and a cupcake. More importantly, it was warm.

By 10:15am, I was walking into Best Buy, orange ticket in one hand, cupcake in another. I found the manager from this morning, “I hope you like chocolate,” and handed her the cupcake. From there I got straight up to the counter, picked out an extra game and Wiimote set*, paid and was on my way.

On the bus ride home, I couldn’t actually believe I had just gotten a Wii U Deluxe. After we were given our reserve tickets, apparently about 15+ people appeared and they rushed the door when it was opened. Not sure if they had sold out by the time I got in for mine, but the place wasn’t swamped when I came in.

I unboxed everything, got it all set up… and eagerly began exploring the system. Yes, you do have to spend some time setting things up and you do need to upgrade the system. But it really didn’t take that long. And the cradle and charging dock for the gamepad, very much worth getting. The Miiverse crashed a few times, but that’s just because there were so many people were trying to get on at once. As of this morning, it worked fine.

Netflix works from the get-go, with Hulu+, Amazon Videos, and YouTube coming in a few weeks—with it, Nintendo TVii.

A fair warning, as if you needed it… This is not the last of my Wii U posts.

I’ve got a friend helping me work out recording some game play. I will have reviews of various games, including the three shown above. And of course, just highlighting various features. Perviously I had a lot of my Nintendo news on my tumblr, but I’m moving some of that here. I’m reworking my plan for AdorkableMe just a little, and I want to include more Nintendo stuff because it’s something I love.

I’m super happy with my purchase, and am very proud to support a brand that I’ve loved for so long and has treated me pretty well. The only thing I’m sad about is that I won’t be home to play it this week! If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up and I’ll address them the best I can.

*I didn’t need to do this, but I decided I was going to give my niece 3 full sets of controllers instead of 2. This way they could all play together. So since I want to have friends over to play, I need at least 2 sets myself, hence picking up a new one.


Can’t hold my excitement: 6 days and counting til the Wii U!

The Wii U comes out in less than a week—this Sunday—and to say I’m excited is a bit of an understatement. Since I didn’t pre-order, I’ll be waking up early and heading down to Best Buy before they open just to ensure that I get one.

I’m getting the Deluxe set. Although, I prefer the white aesthetically, the Deluxe set—which currently only comes in black—also comes with 32GBs, docks & cradles, but also with Nintendo Land. That game alone cost $60—so with all those extras, it’s well worth the additional $50. Oh, and Nintendo’s doing a promotion that for every game purchased (including in the eShop), they’ll be giving you more eShop credits.

Now, I’ve giving my trusty and faithful Wii to my niece, along with a handful of games and Wiimotes. So I’ll be down to 2 Wiimotes, which means I’ll eventually buy two more so I can have a full set for multiplayer gaming. The Wii U doesn’t come with Wiimotes, but they’re all compatible.

There’s a lot of great titles coming out on launch day, as well as during the launch window. And I’m allotting myself ONE game purchase when I get my Wii U. While it’s hard to pick just one—with New Super Mario Bros U, Skylanders: Giants, Rabbids Land, and ZombiU topping my list—but I think I’m going to stick with the series that has never done me wrong: New Super Mario Bros U.

Now, I had a little time to play with the Wii U a few months ago. But there’s still a lot I’m curious about. The Mii Plaza has been renamed to Warawara Plaza… and I’m really interested in the whole Miiverse as a social network. And I’ve heard rumors of this network expanding to more than just the Wii U system, as in mobile. I’m curious about Nintendo TVii.

The Wii U is more than just a gaming system… it’s a becoming a lifestyle piece. It’s breaking through this stereotype of being for casual games by bringing on titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops, Ninja Gaiden 3, ZombiU, and Assassin’s Creed. But it continues with amazing multiplayer games like Nintendo Land, New Super Mario Bros U, and again, ZombiU. Warawara & the Miiverse, Nintendo TVii, multiple user accounts… There’s just a lot of features and I am personally impressed. I see no gimmicks here, just a really great system.

So as I count down the days (and, yes, eventually hours)… My challenge to any naysayer: get your hands on a system and try it out. Each game uses the touch screen Gamepad a little differently, and I think that’s great, but it means don’t judge the system based off one game. It’s a complex system, and I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised.

 Edit: You need to check out this article about how the Wii U will change your tv experience!


late night posting

Okay, so it’s really not “late night”… but it almost is for me. I FEEL SO OLD.*

Anyway. Here’s what’s up. Besides me.

→ Well, I lost in the finals. First I thought I won. Then there was confusion. More matches. Not so happy feelings. A rematch. Wifi that didn’t like my 3DS. And then I lost. I was just completely off for that rematch–no mater what I tried, my little Mii wasn’t going to move…

However, losing didn’t stop me from emailing this photo to Anthony of Smosh (my competitor from semi finals, whom I TROUNCED)…

(Anthony’s been a good sport about my minor taunting and rushed photoshopping. … just glad he doesn’t follow me on facebook and didn’t see the “big site doesn’t mean big game, BRING IT” post… … gonna safely assume he doesn’t read my blog either.)

Anyway. GOOD JOB TERRY. He gets a second chance at TJ.

→ I’m getting a house guest! A very pretty one too. Katherine is moving to Chicago, and now that she’s publicly announced it, I can publicly go WOOHOO! I’m excited that she’s moving here.

→ Mucca Pazza cd release show is happening August 18. Very excited. Gotta wash my cheer skirt and tube socks.

→ I reactivated my online dating profile–or rather, logged into it for the first time since… maybe December… I don’t have high hopes. I’m just bored. Really. Bored.

→ I officially have the word “Director” in my job title. My responsibilities aren’t really changing, but it’s nice to have the appropriate title to match what I’ve been doing for a while…

Anyway. It’s been a week. Next week is shaping up to be fun. And hopefully I’ll get my act together and start writing more… because, yeah, school is starting back up soon. How’s your week?

*My office assistant was talking today about how he couldn’t celebrate his friend’s birthday because he wasn’t 21 year… I WORK WITH A PUPPY. (He’s a good kid, emphasis on KID.) This adult thing is weird.


the dork abides

For the past three days I’ve been knee deep in code.

I decided on Tuesday I wanted to completely redo my portfolio site. So, within 24 hours I rebuilt it, and I even reformatted all the content to fit the new site. But, me being me, means I’ve been nit-picking small things ever since yesterday afternoon when it went live.

So, I’m taking a break from code before I smash my head into my desk. Repeatedly. jQuery is not my friend right now… (.createElement(‘STAB’))

Tomorrow morning I get to wake up bright and early as the Muccas and I are heading down to Louisville for LebowskiFest! Yes. LebowskiFest. White Russians. Bowling. And dear lord I hope I hear at least one person exclaim “Forget it, Donny! You’re out of your element!” It’s going to be a good time.*

We’re staying overnight in Louisville, then rushing back for what is going to be a very full, but amazingly awesome Saturday.

Our good friends from New Belgium’s Tour de Fat will be in Chicago, so we’ll be paying them a little visit around 1:40-ish. If you’re in town, and especially if you have a bike and/or like beer, you should check it out. The bike parade is super fun, and there’s just so many acts you don’t want to miss.

From Tour de Fat, I’ll be hauling ass to get to Rebekah’s hotel. I need to drop off my stuff before she and I join our fellow nerds for a special Nintendo Brand Ambassador event. We got an exclusive invite to the WiiU Experience. A few hours of hands on with Nintendo’s latest console system, followed by drinks and dinner. I think the only reason I’m not geeked out more about this event is from being slightly brain dead from a coding overload. I also haven’t been reading too many reviews as I really want to go into this experience with no expectations other than to have a great time.

After the WiiU Experience, I’ll be saying bye to my friends for a little bit and running off to see someone who is The Best. My friend Steinomite is having his debut CD release that night, and I’ve volunteered to do merch for him. Ssssnake is also performing, as well as other performers I don’t know personally but I know will be amazing.

All of this will be topped off with brunch Sunday morning with Rebekah before she heads home. There was talk of some beach time for Sunday afternoon–which as long as I just get to lay on my towel and relax, I’ll be up for.

It’s an incredibly nerdy weekend, and I really can’t wait.

*Though, if you get me excited, I’ll probably say BukowskiFest… which I’d like to think would be just as fun in its own way…
**Sorry for my lameness in not linking anything… if you want more info about anything mentioned, let me know and I’ll get a link or two out to you.


a family that games together…

Growing up, the only time I could really get a chance at our gaming systems was when my brother was off running through the neighborhood. Luckily he was a really active kid.

In case you were curious, I played a lot of Super Mario World, F-Zero, and ChessMaster on our SNES. (The Playstation was basically only Tim’s, but I was still allowed to play my Spyro games every so often. Okay, my brother wasn’t that stingy, he just played a lot.)

The gaming gene didn’t stop with just my brother and I. It seems my younger sisters have it too (even though the 16 year old might deny it). My little cousin? Mario Kart addict–he’s 7. And my beautiful niece? Yep. She’s definitely my brother’s girl. She has a DS lite now, and rumor has it she’s might be getting a 3DS as well as her own games for daddy’s xbox.

But what’s really awesome is that a year or so ago, I brought my Wii home for the holidays, and was pretty surprised with the outcome! For one, that year I found out I could beat my brother at one game at least–Wii Bowling. Also, we found out that my grandmother was more skilled than any of us knew. She took home the Wii Bowling championship on dad’s side. Even with all the cousins in, no one could be grandma. That wasn’t the last time we had a Wii Bowling tournament. While I was living with my dad, we had one as part of our family game night. I got creamed.

This year I’m looking forward to more holiday gaming memories. Dance parties with my niece (and hopefully my mom too!) on the kinect. Inevitably getting beat in Mario Kart by a 7 year old. And our own family Wii Olympics with Mario & Sonic. I still expect that our family will continue to play our traditional games: phase 10 and skip-bo (where Grandpa and I were the unbeatable team for years and years)… and now Apples to Apples and Rummikube (and hopefully one day Settlers of Catan, because that will always be one of my favorite board games). But I’m glad to see what was just something Timmy and I did, is now also a family favorite. … Now if only I could succeed at getting my mom to play Beatles Rockband with me…

Does your family have any traditional games? Any new ones you’d like to see added? I want to hear fun family game stories!

My sisters only get 30 minutes to either play Wii or be online each day (as long as their school work is done), and so each takes their 30 minutes and they don’t play together. (Because this means they can sit and watch their sisters play.) But during the holiday time we can actually get them into cooperative play–which to me is important. And setting up various family tournaments is even better. Though I generally find most of my dad’s rules a bit too limiting, I do agree with their limitations on using the TV/playing the Wii. I love the Wii, but I think it should be a reward not a right. I love that my sisters read a lot, or spend a lot of time with imaginative play inside and out. (On the reverse side, by brother and I had free range to do what we wanted, and I think we turned out pretty well.)


Nintendo Enthused: Just call me Tanook-Rini!

Last Thursday was a fun day for me. Not only did I have Reading Band, but I got a called that FedEx had a delivery for me! I love surprise packages. However, waiting all day and evening until I got home–which was around 10-ish, I think–was not easy.

I got giddy, and giggly, when I opened this up. I’ve been overly excited about the new Mario family titles coming to the 3DS. In fact, there were so many that I liked and wanted, that I just sort of lost track of them. (Plus, with my previous unemployment, games weren’t in the budget at all.) So receiving this amazing Super Mario 3D Land package unleashed some sort of bouncy school girl in me.

Now, in case you didn’t know, Brand About Town is simply the best and always send the most awesomest gifts. This one was no exception. Included with my new 3DS game was the mirror shown above, a Mario hat and mustache, and… my very own Tanooki suit hood! (If you follow #NintendoEnthused on twitter, I’m sure you’ve seen a whole horde of us suiting up.)

I’m in love with it. So much that I took it to work with me on Friday. (Which it came in very handy because it’s pretty chilly up there.) I think I’ve worn this, around the house, at least once a day so far. Also, I’ve been playing the game every day since I got it…

… and I’m now in the middle of the last world (World 8). I don’t think I’ve ever gone through a game this quickly. And I’ve been finding all three of the star coins in most levels now. I’m even going back to get ones I’ve missed. I truly hope that there are bonus levels past World 8, because I’m at W8-6 right now, and I’m not ready for it to be over.

I was talking with TOPolk on twitter, and we both agree that Nintendo got it right with this game. It’s not insultingly easy, but it’s not so much of a challenge people just give up. Now, there are nice little boosts Nintendo’s put in there if you are having trouble. Die 5 times in a level? Nintendo gives you a shiny, sparkly, white Invincible Tanooki suit. I’ve definitely used this more than once to get through something that was just getting to be frustrating. However, this suit won’t keep you from just walking/falling off the edge of the world. (Something I’m also familiar with.) Die 10 times? You get a P-Wing Power Up (something you might remember from Super Mario Bros 3–not sure if it’s made an appearance anywhere else). It takes you to the end of the level. I’ve never used it, and it’s only been offered to me once. Sort of reminds me of the Super Donkey Kong on Donkey Kong Country Returns… At least with the Invincible Tanooki suit, you’re still playing the game rather than watching the AI go through it.

This game is amazing. I highly recommend picking it up. Especially if you’re a longtime Mario fan. (I’m also happy Mario Kart 7 is coming out for the 3DS soon.) There’s lots of nice hidden surprises, and this has been one game where I’m actually eagerly trying to find them all rather than just trying to get through everything. And when you add in extra bonuses for StreetPasses, well, the fun never stops. Even if the Princess is never in the f*cking castle.

Fun Fact: The Tanooki suit is based off of a raccoon-dog, commonly known as Tanuki. And well, a lot of people think of the Tanooki suit as a raccoon or fox suit–but it’s not. Tanuki are a different family from the raccoon–though there’s been a lot of debate about how they should be categorized taxonomically… and well, yeah, not foxes. Those would be Kitsune.

Important Facts: The game, hat and Tanooki hood (a Red Wolf hood from Spirit Hoods–completely faux fur, btw) were all a gift from Nintendo and Brand About Town. I did not receive them in return for writing this, nor any type of payment. The opinions here are all my own.