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.)


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.


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.

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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 Babble.com.

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.


I got the moooooooves like Jagger… – UbiChamps review of Just Dance 4

Thank you to Ubisoft for sponsoring this post. Please click here to learn more about Ubisoft. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. #UbiChamps

Something I learned first hand this week is that it is pretty much impossible to be unhappy and dance at the same time. I was having a rough night, and though my friends were there to help, what I really needed was a distraction and some fun. So I popped a bottle of wine and put in Just Dance 4 on my Wii U.

After my first song, I was definitely feeling better. An hour, and half a bottle later… I was laughing, still dancing, and getting 5 star scores. Oh, and at some point I had lost my pants. (Hence why there’s no video/photos of me playing.)

Now, I’m not recommending you go get slightly drunk and lose your pants… but I am recommending getting Just Dance 4 for whatever gaming system you own. JD4 was actually the very first game I got for my Wii U. In fact, I got the game before I got the Wii U!

So the game play is pretty much the same—which is exactly want you want, an upbeat dance game. However, exclusive to the Wii U, Puppet Master mode. With this, a fifth person can control the gameplay and choreography moves on the fly.

Since I live alone, I haven’t had a chance to do this… But seeing how much fun my family had last holiday season with my Wii, I’m pretty sure this game will make it home this year.

My family and I are definitely not known for our dance moves. So this will surely be an entertaining time. Sibling rivalry is going to go to extreme hilarious means as I take on my brother in dance battles. Also, I predict my niece is going to kick all our butts across the board. (The fact the Umbrella by Rihanna is on there, yeah, she memorized that song when she was 3 and I’m sure she still remember the words.)

Thing that I’ve liked about the Just Dance series, it’s a lot of fun, but can also be included in a workout routine. And if you’re like me and holiday food—hello, turkey, potatoes, gravy, pie. omg pie—well, then more family fun also means dancing away to seconds, thirds, and even fourths.

Pretty sure you can guess which song I think you should start out with…


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!