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.)

One month with the Wii U

So, as you’ll remember, I was eagerly anticipating the launch of the Wii U. So much so that I was first in line on launch day.

It’s been just over a month now with the Wii U, and can I just say… I love it. I am extremely happy that I didn’t wait on this purchase or for a campaign opportunity to eventually pop up.


And in this short time, I’m sort of surprised at my growing game collection. I already have 7 games. Nintendo Land came with the deluxe edition, and I purchased New Super Mario Bros. U on launch day. My friends at Nintendo sent me ZombiU. Ubisoft, via Clevergirls, sent me Just Dance 4, Marvel Avengers: Battle For Earth, and Assassin’s Creed III. And I won a copy of Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two from Disney, via

Now, I haven’t had much time to go through all the game yet… Right now I’m still working my way through NSMBU, and using Just Dance 4 for exercise and stress relief. After the holidays (and a quick winter tour on the east coast), I’ll explore the other games. I’m also looking forward to testing out the Wii U video chat with Jenn (or really, our cats will test it out)—something that I think could open the doors for a partnership with Skype. I have really enjoyed exploring the Miiverse—it’s a great way to chat with other players and get a feel for games prior to purchasing, and seeing the posts show up on the NSMBU maps is a lot of fun.

One big thing I didn’t necessarily expect was just how much my Wii U became the center for all entertainment. My TV remote? Packed away. I don’t use it any more. I can control everything from my GamePad. And now that Nintendo TVii is live, I could control my cable as well—if I actually had a cable subscription. This is one thing I brought up with the Nintendo of America representative who called me yesterday. Hopefully, we’ll see an option to not select a cable package. What this will do is let those of us with just Netflix and Hulu+ to integrate those two services into one menu. How awesome is that?! It also links Amazon Video too, so YAY MOVIES! (Now, it already integrates all these things into one menu, but since I don’t have cable, all those things I don’t actually have are in there too…)

Is the Wii U revolutionary? Maybe not. But is it completely awesome? YES. I sort of wish I could do more with my GamePad.

I think there is a lot of potential in this system. The possibility for apps—things that go beyond gaming—is just endless. Skype is just one. We already have YouTube (aka: CAT VIDEOS ON BIG SCREEN!)… Who knows, maybe an outside network email and an IM feature could be down the road. If the NFL ever wanted to partner with them to offer a subscription package? Sign me up!

So far it’s blended in almost seamlessly in my life, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the system progresses. And I absolutely cannot wait for game nights so I can explore multiplayer features… though the biggest thing will be, who gets the GamePad? (Yes, it will turn out like this.)

You can read more about Nintendo TVii and how Nintendo thinks it’s going to change how we think about television at Reggie Asks.

You can also read another 1-month review from my friend TOPolk.

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!

my new Nintendo crush — the WiiU

So. Pretty old news that I absolutely love Nintendo. Not just the gaming systems, but the company too.

Well, the weekend before last, my friends at Nintendo and Brand About Town invited myself and a good handful of other ambassadors to the WiiU Experience that was visiting Chicago.

News about the WiiU has been out for a while, but not many have gotten a chance to try it. So Nintendo is touring their new system to various cities across the country for an invite only experience to try out the system and some of the new games.

The big thing with this new system is the Game Pad–the tablet-looking controller with a touch screen.

There have been a lot of skeptics of the WiiU. Even I wasn’t too sure what to think. I was definitely hopeful. And I’ve got to say I was delightfully surprised when I finally got my hands on it!

Each game utilizes the Game Pad differently. Some games barely use it, like Just Dance 4. Which, was tons of fun–I placed 2nd and 1st the two times I played. It’s pretty similar to the rest of the series, but just as fun. With New Super Mario Bros 2, the player with the Game Pad assists the other characters through the levels. Doesn’t sound all that exciting, but it was kind of tricky to place the blocks in the right places so my friends wouldn’t die.

Wii Fit U was a lot of fun. There’s a great balance game where you’ve got to run desserts through a banquet and not drop them. You watched your Mii run through the room on the TV, but you hold the Game Pad horizontal like a tray and you can watch your food items on that screen. (Though I recommend watching the screen so you don’t hit people and know where you’re going!) I personally liked the one where you shot water at mud-covered Miis. You utilized the Wii Fit board as a pedal for the water, and aimed with the Game Pad. Looking at the TV game you an overview of the whole game.

One of the great things? The Game Pad is surprisingly light. I found that when I was using it, it felt comfortable. Not bulky and overwhelming at all. At times I forgot I was holding this larger controller, it just felt natural with the game!

The game that surprised me, as far as my liking it–was ZombiU (by Ubisoft). I find zombies to be amusing, but most zombie video games are just a tad over the top in the gore department for me. This one’s not necessarily pretty, but it’s not too bad. I’ve got to admit I only tried the multiplayer mode. But it was fun. Humans vs. Zombies. I was trying for the humans (keyword: TRYING). It’s a first person shooter game, which I happen to secretly love… I’m just not that great at them. It uses the Pro Controller (which sort of resembles the old classic controllers). For me, it brought back all my memories of failing at Halo on the xbox. The walking is the same… use one circle pad to control where you look, and another one to walk… aka Erini looks at the sky and the floor a lot and walks in circles. The Game Pad is used to control the swarms of zombies. I gave it a good try, but after getting my face eaten off five times in a row, I passed the control on for someone else to try.

Anyway. The event was super fun. There’s still a lot of titles I didn’t get to try… and really, I’m just super excited about this system. You’ve really got to get your hands on it before you can pass any judgments. And try various games since they are all pretty different.

The event was great, just for getting to hang out with other ambassadors too! Rebekah was flown in, as was Lacey… and I finally got to meet Terence! It was good to see familiar faces from the Seattle trip too, like Melissa, Mikey and Sam. And of course my Chicago girls: Jenn, Rachel, and Jamie.

I was sad to leave early–during our amazing dinner, just before dessert. (But I was informed, my new friends Tessa and Kayla took care of that for me.) But I had a Steinomite show to go to, and though that day was busy, it was so much fun.

Now I’ve just got to wait until this holiday season when the WiiU will finally come out!

*Oh, in some more #NintendoEnthused news, I made the finals of the Mario Tennis Open 3DS tournament!

Game. Set. Match! (#NintendoEnthused Mario Tennis Open Tournament)

I’ve had a lot of Nintendo stuff going on this week. And it’s all been fantastic. Rather than try to tackle it all in one big post, I’m going to break it up into two. So I know you’re all dying to hear about my thoughts on the WiiU Experience, but that should hopefully be coming tomorrow.

Today, it’s all about Mario Tennis Open for the 3DS.

Having loved Mario Sports Mix for the Wii, I was excited to see what they’d do with Mario Tennis Open on the 3DS. Let me just say, I’ve only had this game since Monday and it’s already my numer two most played game. It’s a lot of fun.

There’s a slight learning curve with this, but they give you hints in the game. They’ll tell you how to use the “chance shots”–which are really like power shots. Not to mention, the touch screen has all the shot combinations right on it. So you can either hit the appropriate shot on the screen, or hit the corresponding button(s).

You can play singles or doubles, exhibition matches or compete in a tournament, or there’s also fun little special games like Ring Shot (hitting balls through coin rings to earn points before time elapses), and Super Mario Tennis (hitting balls against a screen to play through the original Super Mario Bros levels). Special games are key. It’s through the special games that you really earn coins. And coins let you modify your Miis.

 I mean, look at my little Mii in her adorable Bullet Bill dress, with POW Block sweat bands and racket. Not only does she look cute, but these outfits help improve my stats. There are also character costumes too, so if I wanted to, I could dress my Mii up like Yoshi. (Oh, and search for QR codes, because thanks to those, I have 6 more yoshis and Metal Mario as playable characters. You can unlock more as you continue to play through the game.)

The gyro motion sensors come into play in this game. And at first I didn’t think I’d like them, but really, they are key for doing well in this game.

Now, thanks to my amazing friends at Brand About Town, I’m participating in a Mario Tennis Open tournament. Round one was yesterday, and I was up against my longtime Nintendo friend & rival, Rachel. I thought for sure I was doomed. But miracle of miracles, this is one game I can beat her in, no blue shells required! (And thanks to Rach for being a super sport about it.)

Since I’m still in the tournament, I won’t give out any more tips. At least not until I win it all. (Granted, I’m up against my buddy TOPolk, so yeah, this could all be over by tomorrow night. He plays this game every night.) But this game was a nice surprise and I can’t wait to get more outfits and win all the cups! (Though maybe not in doubles–that was a bit tricky for me, especially to trust that my computer partner to hit the ball all the time.)

Anyway. This has been a great game. If you’ve got a 3DS you should check it out. Play tournaments against friends locally (and only one of you needs the game card!), or play strangers online in sets or quick “tie-breaker” matches.

Don your skorts. Put on your sweat bands. Practice your grunts. And get ready for a fun time. I know I sound like an ad, but this really is a great game and makes my top 3 list for the 3DS.

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.

and the nerdiness continues: how the 3DS blew my mind

Okay, so the Nintendo 3DS event was amazing.  Getting to see friends that I’ve missed and meet a TON of seriously awesome other Brand Ambassadors totally made the trip for me.  (Read more here.)  Icing on the cake: a complete mass of nerdiness. The Nintendo 3DS is absolutely incredible.

look how cute I am in Mii form!

One of my favorite commercials for the 3DS?  This one:

This? It’s a game changer, and quite literally.  I was very interested in just how this would work.  It’s 3D without glasses.  That’s huge.  I hate 3D glasses — there has never in the history of ever been a pair that has played nice with real prescription glasses.  Thus, watching movies in 3D is not my first pick.  Playing the 3DS was quite awesome.  (I’m going to run out of positive adjectives soon…)  It really is 3D without glasses.  Games and pictures — yes, you can take pictures — in 3D.

The best way to experience this is the AR Games.  AR is Augmented Reality.  It brings the 3D games into your world.  Those cards you see in the commercial, point the 3D cameras at them and BAM, you’re playing in your world.  The same with the Face Raders game — and both of these are included.  Between this and Street Pass, you can keep yourself entertained for a while without actually purchasing another game.  Street Pass was a favorite for us Ambassadors.  As you pass someone with a 3DS, if you have this activated, you collect their Mii, which will in turn you can collect puzzle pieces as well as play a game called Find Mii.  In this game, you’re the ruler of your kingdom — which, thank you Nintendo for recognizing my royalty — but you’re trapped in a cage.  You need heros — other Miis — to set you free from the ghosts.

As I mentioned, Street Pass only works when you have it activated.  This is something really awesome with the 3DS; it has built in parental controls.  You set the passcode and you can block the ability to share and receive information from other 3DS’.  Also, you can control your little one’s ability to use the 3DS.  You can control the amount of 3DS with the depth slider on the right side of the top screen, but with the parental controls you can just turn it off.  Now, why do this?  Well viewing 3D images is not recommended for children under 6.  But with all these controls, Nintendo is putting the ball in your court.  Do your own research and decide what’s best for your kids.  That’s the only way to do it.

Now, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get a new game since we were getting a gift card.  Originally, I heard good things about Pilot Wings.  So I was really tempted to get this.  By the time I got to the store, I’d only done half of the game demos — so I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted.  But in the end, I went with Combat of Giants – Dinosaurs 3D.

Rini picking a Dinosaur game? Never…. Yeah, hard to pass this one up.  I’ve read a little bit about it and even asked some of the Nintendo employees about it.  At the point of where I was when we shopped, of the games I’d tried I really liked Street Fighter IV and Steel Diver.  But I wasn’t sure I’d dedicate hours to them.  And after trying Pilot Wings, I’m glad I went with this game instead.  Pilot Wings is still fun and challenging, but just not quite my scene.  With this game I’m able to get the SMASH & KILL that I enjoy as well as OMG DINOSAURS.

It’s not an overly complicated game.  A tyrant dinosaur has overtaken the world as an evil overlord, you must defeat him and his minions.  You have a variety of dinos to pick from, and yes, you can customize them.  I haven’t unlocked it just yet, but trust me, I will be playing with a pink t-rex very soon.  You name your giant, you customize how it looks (including making it a skeleton), you equip it with various tools and resources.  As you roam around you come across the minions you’ve got to destroy.  It’s not “memorize all these combos” strategy, but there is strategy to defeat your opponent.  But, in saying that, it’s a game that I can indeed spend hours on, or I can step back and just play casually.  It’s just what I want in a game.  (Video trailer here.)

Now, after a while, my eyes do tire.  As one employee from Nintendo put it, it’s like wearing new glasses, your eyes need to adjust.  But overall, I’m absolutely sold on this device.  It’s going to push other game makers to take big steps too.  Hell, this will make all technology and gadgets have to step up.  But in saying that…  I don’t know how responsible it would be to make a 3D TV with technology like the 3DS unless there’s a lot more education about it out there.  (Basically, I’m saying it might be risky letting people watch 3D images for that long, because let’s face it, people will — at the same time, what’s stopping us from doing that with the 3DS?)  … either way, whatever.  I love my 3DS and that’s that.  I’m a little sad that NO ONE in Chicago that I’ve been near has one so I can collect more Miis in Street Pass.  Go out and get one now so we can play.  Please and thanks.

Enough of me rambling.  Go out and try one for yourself.  It’s freaking amazing.

While Nintendo and Brand About Town did pay for my flight and hotel out to Seattle, and I did receive the Nintendo 3DS as a gift, and a gift card for the store… I was in no way paid to write about it.  These opinions are purely my own.

It's March Madness of the non-basketball kind…

These last few days of March are kind of crazy.  Jammed packed and I can’t believe it’s all happening so quickly.  I feel like if I blink it’ll be April.

I spent Monday through Wednesday in Chicago apartment hunting.  It’s not necessarily open season on studios, but I did find one that met pretty much all my requirements (<$600, all utilities included, laundry in building, not too far from train & grocery store, and cat friendly).  Now I’ve spent all day today getting more information for them as well as just generally being crazy nervous waiting for them to call and tell me whether I got the apartment.

Tomorrow, not only is part one of a freelance project supposed to go live, but I’ll be returning to Chicago.  This time it’s for the crazy fun LOUD madness that is Mucca Pazza.  If you’re at the show, you can find me at the merch table again.  I haven’t seen my nerdy friends since their New Years Eve show, so I’m excited to see them play again.  (Not to mention it’s super awesome that Elanor’s letting me crash with her for the night!)

This weekend will be spent packing.  Even though I don’t know if I’ve gotten the apartment yet, I still need to go through all my stuff to see what I can send to my mom’s.  (Giant bag of paper crafts and my knitting supplies, I will miss you.)

Monday through Wednesday my sisters (the ones who won’t be out of state on trips) will be with the folks at my grandparents’ house.  Leaving me the entire house with my kitties.  Yes, I will admit, my butt will be soaking in the last bit of TV I will probably get in a long time.  Plus, I’ve got packing to do because…

Thursday I’ll be flying out to Seattle for an amazing couple of days with some equally Nintendo Enthused peoples.  I’ve never been to Seattle, let alone seen the Nintendo of America headquarters or dreamt that I’d be getting to try out the new 3DS so soon!  (I’m not much for waiting in lines to test them out at a store… but you know I would if not for this trip…)  So I’m getting ready to get my geek on and have got to figure out OMGWHATWILLIWEAR?!?!  I can deal with 50s and raining, but I was sort of hoping this could be an all-dresses trip for me.  But beyond the awesomeness of the 3DS, I’m really excited to see so many amazing bloggers.  After the event, Rebekah and I will be sticking around for an extra day and I’ll finally get to catch up with Mennogirl (and meet her new boyfriend!).  It’s hilarious that she lives so close, yet it takes a trip to Seattle for us to hang out.  (Oh, and on Friday the 1st, part two of my freelance project needs to go live…)

And then, after returning home (hopefully to my new studio in Chicago), I’ll be all set to begin classes on Monday, April 4th at the Chicago Portfolio School.

So there is some breathing room in there, but it really doesn’t feel like it.  So, how’s the end of the month look for you?  (And if you’re following the NCAA tournament, who are you rooting for?)