Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Amiiqo: The Piracy Hardware That Surprises No One

Here's a picture of my Amiibo collection:

I have 15 Amiibo. With an MSRP of $12.99 I have spent $194.85 before tax on Nintendo Amiibo figures. By my tally 50 Amiibo have been released with dozens more on the way. If I wanted all of the Amiibo released to date I would spend $649.50 before tax. That number is assuming I can find the Amiibo in a store or for retail price which has been a difficult task due to popularity, shortages, and eBay speculators.

What do these figures add to games? It depends on the figure and which game you are using. Certain figures are more useful than others unlocking more features that other figures can't. It is a physical add-on that seems to aim for quantity over quality. Lots of very small features in different games that add up to an underwhelming value.

Now, cut to the Amiiqo. Nope, that isn't a typo, it is a new product that can store up to 200 characters in a single NFC disk. The official line of the producer seems to be that you can use the functionality of your Amiibo collection without messing them up or even taking them out of the package. All of this for just $55. Sweet deal! Especially if you want to get the Amiibo benefits without purchasing every figure. It would not be too difficult to obtain the information of numerous Amiibo without ever making a purchase meaning that this handy-dandy NFC puck is the piracy device for Amiibo.

I won't be making any judgement calls about whether or not pirating NFC data from Amiibo is right or wrong. I think Amiibo will still sell really well and given my personal background with pirating Nintendo software (I don't do it anymore) I don't think I can claim any moral high-ground. All I will say on the matter is that I am not surprised that Amiiqo exists and I am not surprised that people want to buy it. Nintendo and its retail partners have done a pretty miserable job of meeting Amiibo demand. Every time I pop by a store, I check the games aisle to see if I will get lucky and spot some hidden new figure. That technique worked once. Even if they were fully stocked, I would be unable to purchase all of them due to their cost. It would make a lot of financial, and spatial, sense to shell out the $55 for this device to get all the benefits of the figures without buying all the plastic.

I am very curious to see how Nintendo handles the situation. I don't now if it is possible to lock out these types of devices from consoles, but I know that they will if they can, at least that would be consistent with their reactions to previous piracy hardware. Nintendo could work on stocking more figures, which seems to be their current plan. Increasing supply on the "rare" and exclusive Amiibo would drive down resale prices hopefully assuaging the anger of consumers. The solution I hope for is that Nintendo works on creating and expanding Amiibo cards, like the Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer set. I would much rather have some of these Amiibo in card form to combat the shelf over-stuffing that is currently happening in my apartment. I guess we'll wait and see.

Swashbucklingly yours,

-Peter

Monday, August 24, 2015

Damn, Pilotwings is Smuuuuug

While playing Pilotwings I noticed a trend as I failed my way through the early part of the game. The instructor NPCs are total dicks. Like full-throttle jagweeds. Here are a few photos I took while sucking at Pilotwings. Pilotwings is a flight simulator game originally published for the SNES in 1991 in the U.S. It was Directed by Tadashi Sugiyama and produced by Shigeru Miyamoto.

Please pardon the iPhone on CRT photography.







 Even when you do something successfully, the dickish commentary continues. It's a fun game, but I don't know how much more my self worth can take.

A photo posted by Peter (@nerd_in_the_world) on

Emotionally yours,
-Peter

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Diving into SNES Guardianship

I spent last week in Austin, TX with my wonderful girlfriend and her family, who are also pretty great. While there, I was talking to the dad of W.G.F. about how to get rid of an old Magnavox CRT TV they had sitting around with no current use. Being a dutiful nerd I informed him that people hoping to play on the old game consoles would be interested in a well kept, large-ish (32"), CRT TV and that I would gladly take back to Illinois. Luckily, we were in a primo trash-treasure situation and I convinced the previously mentioned W.G.F. to let me put it in our ridiculously small apartment. Pretty dull story so far, until five minutes later when I am offered a rarely used SNES and game collection along with the TV. The only "catch" is that I am a guardian and caretaker of this SNES and can not willingly allow it to be harmed or sold. It was a pretty easy deal to accept.

Needless to say, I was flabbergasted by this act of kindness and owe many thanks to the family of W.G.F. I had eyed this SNES on previous visits, and was never sure if I would ever get around to having my own, let alone a great game collection right off the bat. However, I am aware that I am not yet the true owner of this system, and that I must treat it well, clean it, and take it through its daily exercises.

Since getting back to Illinois, I haven't had much time to mess around with the SNES. I have it hooked up to the CRT TV, I learned that the battery is dead in the Super Mario World, and probably all of the other battery save games, and that Pilotwings is fun and infuriating. I look forward to exploring the realm of the SNES, a system I have played very little of. Additionally, I am dreading trying to update the batteries on several of these games, but I understand that it is my duty as a SNES Guardian to do so. I am a SNES Guardian!

Here's a list of the games I received with the SNES:
  • Aero the Acro-Bat
  • Barbie: Superstar Model (a childhood favorite of W.G.F.)
  • Donkey Kong Country
  • Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
  • Earthworm Jim
  • Mortal Kombat
  • Super Mario World
  • Super Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back
  • Tetris/Dr. Mario
  • Young Merlin
  • Zelda: A Link to the Past
  • Zombies Ate My Neighbors (another W.G.F. favorite)
Here are the three I picked up the next day:
  • Aaahh! Real Monsters
  • Pilotwings
  • Super Ghouls and Ghosts
Here's my non-ridiculously expensive wish-list
  • F-Zero
  • Super Mario Kart
  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
  • Super Metroid
  • Star Fox
  • Doom
  • Tetris 2
  • Worms
  • Yoshi's Cookie
  • Probably more stuff after more research

-Peter

Friday, February 20, 2015

Nintendo Freemium and Pokemon Shuffle

Nintendo has joined the ranks of freemium game publishers, kinda. Nintendo dropped the free to download game on the eShop on Feb 18 with hopes of increasing their micro transactions (I suspect). As a any good Nintendo fan would, I downloaded it without question and launched it hoping for a clone of the N64 Pokemon Puzzle League. I was quickly disappointed that it did not resemble one of my favorite N64 games, but I was pleased by its cutesy aesthetic and the fact that they did not over stress the desire for your millions of $1 transactions. The second thing I noticed is that this game is incredibly easy early on. I've played through 30-ish stages and have messed up on two of them. This would sound like a good thing for a freemium game that limits lives, but since every level costs a life, you run through your five in no time at all. The puzzle challenges are straightforward enough, you line up matching Pokemon to knock out an opponent, who you then try to capture. Captured pokemon become yours to use in future puzzles. Simple enough.

It's not a great game, it's a little disappointing that Nintendo is going the freemium route, but it's free entertainment, so I'll play it some. That last sentence is in my adult voice. I have money to buy real games and I don't always need to go with the cheapest option. If I switch to the voice I had 12 years ago, this game is a great value for all kids who have a the console but can't afford games very often. I was always lucky enough to have game consoles, but often times, I had to scrap to get games. I would play the Gamestop system as well as I could and at 13 I started torrenting DS games onto a rom cart. A free game I could play several times a day featuring Pokemon would have made me very happy, so I am sure  Pokemon Shuffle has made some kids happy.

Perhaps we should look at freemium games as a sort of video game redistribution system. Those who can afford micro transactions ensure that everyone gets this game for free.It's not a perfect system, it doesn't lead to amazing games, but in this instance, I' not gonna complain about it.

Update: Past level 30 starts getting mildly challenging and more interesting. Also, the timed expert challenges are tediously fun. The pokemon you pick play a bigger effect when you get to the tougher challenges.

-Peter
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Monday, October 27, 2014

Board Game Review: Smallworld (2009)


What do you get when over a dozen fantasy races want to inhabit the same land? A lot of conquest and a pretty fun board game published by Days of Wonder (Ticket to Ride, Memoir '44). I played this game for the first time this past Friday, and enjoyed it enough that I picked it up for myself the next day. I've played it about five times now with different numbers of players and I hope you find this review/overview informative.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Nerd Pumpkin Carving (Photos)

With Halloween coming up, and some great October weather yesterday was a good day to carve some pumpkins. Erin and I searched online for some stencils we liked, I went with Gengar and she chose Lumpy Space Princess. We're not especially good carvers, but they did turn out pretty well. Enjoy the photos and here are the links to the stencils we used.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Deus Ex Nintendo: Smash Bros. for the Wii U Hype

It is uncommon for me to yell "Holy shit!" multiple times during a promotional video, but today's Super Smash Bros. Wii U 50 Facts Extravaganza video was pretty ridiculous. I encourage anybody who likes Nintendo or Smash Bros. to watch the whole thing, it will make you buy a Wii U and reserve the game (or so Nintendo hopes). Instead of recapping all of the facts shown, I will touch on what some of these announcements meant to me as a Smash and Nintendo enthusiast.