On My Radar – Tiny Metal

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I loved Advance Wars back in the day.

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Thoughts on the Nintendo Switch Super Bowl LI Commericial

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The Nintendo Switch Super Bowl Commercial came out yesterday. Showcasing the new console’s strength, playing games with others. This is Nintendo bringing back the feels from the playground Pokémon games of youth as well as the Wii era. Cooperative play at its finest.

I can’t wait to:

  • Wake up and play Zelda in bed. My wife won’t mind…
  • Punch my kid in the living room. Virtually, of course.
  • Live out my western quick draw fantasies.
  • Dance?
  • Force neighborhood children to watch me and my son play a two player game of Mario Kart. Seriously, who needs more players crowding up the home TV.
  • Discover new/rich friends who each have their own Nintendo Switch.

Will you be making the Switch?

Nintendo Games and Tegotae

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Stephen Totilo, over at Kotaku, interviewed Shigeru Miyamoto last month at E3. He asked Miyamoto why Nintendo games feel different. Love the insightful response:

Miyamoto: So you know programming is all about numbers. The challenge is getting this kind of feeling into numbers. So there’s a lot of back and forth between the programmer and myself and the director. We really go in deep about how to create this feeling. We do a lot of back and forth.

Bill Trinen: It actually goes back to the way they designed the original Super Mario Bros., where when they tested it, originally, there was no Mario and there was no person. It was just a block. And you would press the button and see the block move. There’s actually a word in Japanese that describes what you’re talking about–the feeling–which there is no word for in English. In Japanese it’s called tegotae..

Read more here

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How Wyatt and I got past a sleeping Snorlax

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A giant Snorlax blocked the Route 7 bridge. Wyatt wasn’t sure what to do.

250px-143Snorlax

He searched for other routes to take. Distracted himself by catching the odd Pokémon. Yet, the Snorlax slept on.

What Wyatt didn’t know is that the game had given him a context clue. The mystical Poké Flute would solve everything. The sleeping Snorlax’s reign of terror was about to end.

Furfrou

Furfrou

Wyatt came to me frustrated. So we pulled up a walkthrough and figured out where he was in Pokémon X. Sitting on my lap, the boy and I discovered that we needed to backtrack to the Parfum Palace. The owner was missing a Furfrou, which happened to be lost in a maze out back. After finding the Furfrou, we were lent the Poké Flute of power.

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We dashed back to Route 7, some ninja dude jammed out, and the Snorlax woke up. The Pokémon journey was saved!

What I love about sharing Pokémon with Wyatt is that it is a series he can play on his own. When he comes to a place where he needs help, we can sit down, engage, and devise a way forward. Together.

(As a side note: All my random Pokémon knowledge is finally being put to use. Super funny when I know what the evolved form of whatever-it-is is.)

Miitomo

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The legacy of the Mii, Nintendo’s player avatar creations, continues with Miitomo. Uniting iOS and Android users, Miitomo is a personable social network experiment. Inhabited by Facebook and Twitter friends, Miitomo encourages and rewards players for:

  • Answering questions
  • Reading, listening, liking, and responding to your friends replies

Gamification of Social Media: Check

There is also an odd game within the game called Miitomo Drop (drop a player down a board, hope they hit something valuable). As well as options to buy and dress up a player’s Mii. Style points awarded, of course.

Beyond the spongy exterior, the heart-filled frosting of Miitomo tastes hollow. There just isn’t much to do in this app. Yes, Nintendo has done a great job building an oddball social network. I keep wondering though where the gameplay hook is.

As a longtime Animal Crossing fan, the ability to decorate your Mii’s space would be most welcome. Minigames in the vein of the 3DS Mii minigames (Find Mii, Puzzle Swap, etc.) would elevate Miitomo to another level. Nintendo excels when they take a simple concept and refine the player experience.

Miitomo makes great first impression. The missing gameplay hook, the reason to stay and enjoy this weird world, must be found. Mario is indeed missing.