A Farewell to Pokemon October 15, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in DS, entertainment, Nintendo, Pokemon.
Tags: Nintendo 2DS, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS Lite, Pokemon X & Y
We were out shopping on Sunday. For some reason my wife asked me to come along and for equally inexplicable reasons I said yes. I do not like wandering around the mall “shopping” and begin to behave like an 8 year old in making up games and distractions to pass the time. This, in turn, annoys the crap out of my long-suffering wife, so clearly neither of us was thinking straight on this call.
But as we made our way through the electronics section of Target, my daughter went over to the Nintendo section and spotted the new Pokemon X and Y games.
She actually seemed both surprised and excited to see a new Pokemon game out. I knew it had shipped. I still get email updates from Nintendo and was aware that the new games were releasing world wide this past Saturday. I just hadn’t said (or written) anything about it. (Keen and Graev have some posts about the new games.) But I have to admit I have been interested in the game.
Pokemon used to be one of our things.
My daughter was attracted to the game a long ways back, when we saw a Nintendo DS on display at a store with Pokemon loaded up. It was colorful, the basic functions were immediately comprehensible to her, and the idea of capturing little pets and making them battle held an attraction for her. She was into bugs and dinosaurs and animals when she was that age. (Now, however, she screams bloody murder if there is a moth in the shower with her.)
Of course to play Pokemon you had to buy the hardware, a Nintendo DS. That was the stopping point, until we were about to go on a trip and my wife gave me the mandate to go buy one to keep our daughter entertained on the plane for five hours. So I went out and bought a pink Nintendo DS Lite along with LEGO Star Wars, Mario Party DS, and Pokemon Diamond.
I could have skipped the first two. We spent the whole trip playing Pokemon. My daughter was in kindergarten at the time and needed help reading some of the text in the game… this was before she had been trained by World of Warcraft to skip all quest text… so I spent a chunk of that time reading the game text aloud to her. That was a bit of a chore for me, but got her motivated to read.
The game was such a success that a couple of months later my wife bought me a cobalt blue Nintendo DS Lite and my own copy of Pokemon Diamond and we were off.
We played through that together, went on to Pokemon Platinum, and really hit our peak during Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver. We were wearing out Pokewalkers everywhere (and cheating a bit using physics and LEGO). There were mishaps and tragedies and meddling cats, but we were into it. We went to the Pokemon regional championships, played with Pokemon Ranch, and in went to the Pokemon Black and White tour when it showed up at a local mall. I even caught ‘em all, nabbing all 493 Pokemon that were available in the series up to that point.
But then Pokemon Black and White came along and we were not quite as interested. In part that was because we had played so much Pokemon up to that point. We might have been a bit burned out having burned through all the predecessors on the DS, plus a couple of the GameBoy Advance versions, which also ran on the DS Lite.
Then there is also the fact that all Pokemon games are very much alike at some basic level. You start out in the world as a youth, you meet some Pokemon expert, you get your first Pokemon, and you head out into the world to catch Pokemon, battle gym leaders, and eventually take on the regional champions, all while battling a rival and some oddly dressed organization bent on evil. And all of it takes place in a world completely obsessed with Pokemon and where all conflict is resolved by Pokemon battles.
After a few runs through that, you might get a little tired of it.
And then there are the special features each game brings to the table. My daughter and I used to enjoy playing together in the underground in Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. It was a shared environment you could link up in on WiFi. We were also fond of the Pokewalker and the way your lead Pokemon would walk around with you in HeartGold and SoulSilver. In Black and White the key features were the graphics, which were improved, 150 new Pokemon (groan), and a lot of online WiFi connectivity (like Global Link) that did not really click with us. Neither of us finished Black or White and we never bothered with Black 2 and White 2. (Which I still think were dumb names.)
Finally, there were just other distractions. Other games to play, other things to do. My daughter was growing up and little things like Pokemon were no longer quite so important. So we have not been playing Pokemon for quite a while. I would say that we are at least two years past the last time either of us played with any read drive.
But the memory of those times, of playing together, of figuring out where to go next, of catching and trading Pokemon, that all remains. And I think some of that came rushing back to her when we were standing there at the counter looking at the new Pokemon. She was gushing a bit when she asked, “Can we get it?”
I had to tell her we could not.
While Pokemon X and Y have the usual range of features and even a slick way to transfer your old Pokemon over to the new games via the internet (assuming you have them all in Pokemon Black or White) using a feature called Pokemon Bank, there was a problem.
Pokemon X and Y are the first versions of the main line of Pokemon games that are exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS generation of handheld gaming devices. Our Nintendo DS Lites are now pretty much obsolete. When Nintendo stops shipping Pokemon on a platform, it is done.
There certainly seems to be some hunger for a version of Pokemon on the 3DS platform. It is on track to be a big seller, moving 4 million units on its first two days. The top Pokemon games of all time are Pokemon Diamond and Pearl which together move nearly 18 million units.
My daughter had an immediate solution to this problem, which was to buy new hardware!
I have clearly failed to instill any sort of sense as to the value of money in my daughter.
I had to tell her that wasn’t going to happen either. At least not right then. Something like a Nintendo 3DS is a Christmas/Birthday present (or maybe a going on long trip present) and not something we just buy on a whim while at the store on a Sunday afternoon. Even the more moderately priced Nintendo 2DS, about which I am a bit dubious given what I have read (turns out it has just one big LED panel for both screens), falls outside of the impulse buy price range in my opinion.
My daughter’s response was in the “Oh well” range of emotions. She didn’t seem all that put out by it and I somehow doubt that a Nintendo 3DS is going to make it to her Christmas list. And if it did, I think she is more interested in Animal Crossing: New Leaf than Pokemon.
So I suspect that we have had our time with Pokemon.
Augmented Reality Pokemon for the Nintendo 3DS October 4, 2011Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in DS, entertainment, Nintendo, Pokemon.
Tags: 3D Pokedex, Augmented Reality, Nintendo 3DS, Pokedex, Pokemon Black, Pokemon White
1 comment so far
That seemed to me a bit of a gimmick, though at least it was a freebie. And people who bought 3DS units right away probably need all the support they can get, what with the short battery life and such.
This allows you to print out what they call and “AR Card,” place it at some real, physical location, such as on your kitchen table, and then, when you view that through the 3DS, the Pokemon whose AR Card you have appears to be there, on the table.
Again, something of a gimmick in my mind. People have played with this sort of thing. Apparently, the side of the card you print out dictates how big the item will be when viewed, so there was a story over at Kotaku about people printing out poster sized cards to insert life-size Marios into the world.
Nintendo even has a poster sized AR Card that will let you view your Mii (yes, the 3DS has Miis) in full, human scale height.
Not having a 3DS as yet (call me when they get to the second generation… and only if they improve battery life) I do not know exactly what you can do, other than view the images and take pictures of them. Though that might be enough. I’d put a giant Mario next to my car for a photo op if I could.
But the Pokemon AR Cards also give you something else.
Use the AR Viewer in Pokédex 3D to view Pokémon projected into the real world! When you point the camera at these special Pokémon AR Markers, you’ll be able to see and take pictures of Pokémon in 3D. In most cases, when you view one of these Pokémon AR Markers you will increase your chances of receiving the Pokémon that you’ve scanned. But if you scan certain Legendary or Mythical Pokémon’s AR Markers, you will receive those Pokémon instantly!
Okay, you can only see Pokemon you already have. And using the AR Card for ones you do not have will increase your chance of getting that Pokemon as part of a SpotPass.
But if you view a legendary or mythical Pokemon, and you do not have it, you will receive it immediately?
I hate to cry “welfare epics,” but isn’t stalking and catching those rare and elusive Pokemon part of the reason to play the game?
Okay, I suppose when the obsession is upon you, you will do many things to fill that Pokedex. I know how that mania feels, and the lengths to which you will go to catch them all.
I can even go along with the SpotPass option, as it is one of the ways of getting Pokemon that are not in your version of the game. (Black and White each have their own exclusives.)
But handing out legendary Pokemon for printing out an AR Card?
That seems… hollow.
At least to me.
Yes, I have gotten my share of legendary Pokemon from download events. But at least those were out of the house, limited time, go somewhere and see other Pokemon players activities.
Ah well, gotta sell those 3DS units somehow I suppose. I bet some Pokemon fan is even now planning to buy a 3DS just to get the legendary Pokemon.
Nnitendo 3DS $170 – DS Lite $100 July 29, 2011Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in DS, entertainment, Nintendo, Pokemon.
Tags: Netflix, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS Lite, Nintendo DSi, Nintendo DSi XL
Well, Nintendo dumped the price of the 3Ds by $80 just four months after its release.
Apparently, sales were not meeting internal estimates according to Nintendo. And then there is the whole Sony PlayStation Vita thing. No doubt Nintendo wanted to win on price there early. But slow sales are registering as the primary concern.
I am tempted by that option, though I am held back when I start thinking about when I would actually use it. Am I really going to watch that much Star Trek: The Next Generation sitting in bed?
Otherwise, from what I have seen, in person and in the news, there is no killer app for the device quite yet.
Of course, if you own a 3DS already, you might be a little miffed at the drastic price drop. But Nintendo plans to make it up to you.
Meanwhile, if I were in the market for a DS right now that was just right for what I play most on the handheld gaming device, I would be looking at the DS Lite, which Nintendo has aggressively priced.
Sure, the DSi has access to the online Nintendo store and the DSi XL has a larger screen (at the same pixel resolution), but the good old DS Lite has the best battery life of the product line and it is the last of the DS line to have the GameBoy Advance cartridge slot. That last piece is key for the truly obsessive Pokemon fan, as it gives you access to several more generations of Pokemon games.
So I am not sure what Nintendo marketing thinks they are doing.
They dropped the 3Ds price right on top of the DSi XL price point. The DSi is sitting not that far behind as well in price. Meanwhile, they are sending out ads for the DS Lite at a price that pretty much pulls the rug out from underneath everybody.
That is some good work there Nintendo.
The Nintendo 3DS… I’d Buy One March 27, 2011Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in DS, entertainment, Hardware, Nintendo.
Tags: Nintendo 3DS
1 comment so far
The Nintedo 3DS goes on sale today in the United States and I am considering getting one.
But not today.
I got to play with the 3DS at GDC earlier in the month. I did not mention that in my GDC post. I’d like to say that I planned that in advance, holding back until the 3DS launch, but actually I just forgot.
In my 10 minutes of play I got to try out their augmented reality demo, which uses the two cameras on the back of the unit and some cards placed on a table top to create 3D images that appear to be on your table. I then had to move the unit around to target and shoot things.
As a compelling game, it wasn’t so good, but as a technological demonstration it was interesting. While everybody talks about the 3D aspect of the unit, it also has a 3D axis gyroscope and accelerometer so that the motion of the unit can be used as an aspect of game play. If you have an iPhone, this is no big news, but it does add something new to the Nintendo platform. Already one of the launch with one of the titles, Steel Diver, a submarine game, you can sit in an office chair and rotate your periscope by spinning around in the chair. I expect (and hope) that we will see more of this sort of thing. Some of it will be used as a gimmick, but somebody will find new ways to have us play games with this tech.
And there is also the expanded wireless capabilities. The Nintendo DS line has always had wireless built-in, but it has not always been exploited very well. The DSi models added in the ability to buy games for Nintendo points via a wireless connection. But the new CrossPass technology along with some very Wii-like features, such as a Mii and a Virtual Console library that will feature games from past GameBoy generations moves things another step forward.
Then there is the 3D screen, which is a beautiful 800×240 resolution unit for the upper display. The current Nintendo DS model line has a resolution of only 256×192 on both upper and lower screens.
And possibly the best thing about that new screen is that you can turn the 3D off and just have a nice big display.
Not that the 3D is bad. The augmented reality game certainly showed that 3D works well enough without glasses. And I watched the 3D trailer for the movie Rio on the 3DS. I happened to have seen that trailer in the theater in 3D already, so I was able to compare quality.
It looked VERY good on the 3DS screen.
The 3D was okay. At times the three dimensions seemed to be “near, middle, and distant,” but on good effects it blended together nicely.
But the GDC announcement that there will be a Netflix streaming client for the Nintendo 3DS this summer is what has me really excited. I could totally see watching movies on that screen.
But since that is not coming until summer, I am content to wait a bit. By then there will be some more titles available. Any problems will have been identified. And maybe they will have done something about the battery life, which is a bit short compared to my current Nintendo DS Lite.
Of course, I do have one worry.
If I get one then somebody else in our house will want one… or will want to use mine all the time.
Another reason to wait a bit.
[Addendum: See, it is this sort of thing that makes me shy away from newly released hardware.]