Pokemon Rumble Blast
Once touch screens and motion controls have come and…somewhat stayed, what is next in the world of gaming? 3D. Like in the movies, but also just as forgettable. Okay, maybe that’s a little unfair, but, from personal experience, 3D really did not change anything about my handheld gaming experience. Apart from the curiosity that spurs me to check each game’s 3D mode once, I almost exclusively plays sans this feature, despite owning a 3DS. Of course, as is probably the case for most people, I own it for the games, not the additional dimension. Thus, I will forever be thankful that there is a slider to easily remove this feature from any and all games. Handhelds are designed for travel play after all and being forced to hold one steady at an exact distance from your face is very counter-intuitive. Yes this has been fixed with the (poorly named) New 3DS, but still, you know what I mean.
As far as games go however, I really enjoy the 3DS. As the latest installment of the Nintendo handheld roster, it is a pretty strong device. With the usual suspects filling the roster, you’re hard pressed to be bored with this system. Unless you are remarkably up to date with game releases, in which case I commend you…I think. If I had to think of a game that jumps out at me as a 3DS experience, it would probably be Pokemon Rumble Blast. Though far from an amazing game and similarly far from my list of favourites, it was the first game I ever bought for the 3DS and is honestly the reason I bought the system in the first place. I saw someone else playing, thought it looked like some simple fun and decided to buy the system not too long after. I certainly would have gotten it sooner or later, but Rumble Blast was nevertheless my catalyst and I will always look upon it fondly for that. Also, it is adorable.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
The 3DS was the first time, thanks to my affiliation with a now defunct Australian video game site, I got to try a new system before it went on sale. It was a press event held somewhere in the Circular Quay back in 2010, where they had 3DS systems latched on to tables and Nintendo staff.. literally… with a sturdy cable. It was a pretty cool experience, although nearly everyone there were more interested in the free booze than the 3DS itself. Not me though! I made sure to try every single preview build I could: Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, Ridge Racer 3D, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries, and the one game that amazed me the most: Kid Icarus: Uprising. Then and there, I decided that I would purchase the system the day they released it.
Interestingly, Kid Icarus saw many delays before it finally landed in stores on March 2012! So that was quite a painful wait starting from October 2010. In March 2012 I finally got my system along with Kid Icarus: Uprising, Dead or Alive: Dimensions, and Cave Story 3D. Kid Icarus: Uprising saw the delays it did because of how ambitious it was, so much so that you needed a special contraption to play it comfortably on your 3DS.
The list of my favourite 3DS games has some real gems, as in addition to the aforementioned games I also enjoyed Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, Resident Evil: Revelations, Star Fox 64 3D, Pokemon Y, Rhythm Thief, and Castlevania: Mirror of Fate. On top of that the 3DS had a very strong digital lineup of indie games, my favourites were the series of Japanese indie titles released under the Guild banner by developer Level 5 (the studio behind titles like Yo-Kai Watch and Ni no Kuni), among this elite lineup of bite sized gaming splendors were Attack of the Friday Monsters! and the authentic RPG experience that was Crimson Shroud.
I’ll admit, my 3DS usage has seen better days and in the last 3 years the 3DS lineup has softened down a fair bit, but still consistent with major releases by Nintendo that matter. What’s the one game that keeps me connected to my 3DS? Well that would be none other than Animal Crossing: New Leaf. A game that I still play at least once a week. From its wealth of content and activities, to the colorful cast of villagers that you make a very personal connections with, to its enjoyable online features of which I have many fond memories shared with friends from all over the world. Back in December 2016 a major updated added a whole new range of features including a quest system of sorts that gives you tangible goals to work towards.
My Animal Crossing obsession went further, I picked up Happy Home Designer which proved to be a fun little distraction from time to time and dare I say helped me decorate my own house! Then there was Amiibo Festival, a virtual board game that I always bring out when I have friends and family over, and it’s always a charming good time. I even got into collecting Animal Crossing amiibo figures and cards for a while!
Animal Crossing: New Leaf gave me so much to do, so much to collect, and so many friends both in-game and real-life to create simple and innocent memories with. Above all, a sense of satisfaction that comes with looking back on how far you and your village have come, the villagers who have come and gone, all coming together slowly but surely. I have so many treasured and heartfelt memories playing this game, and that’s why it feels like home away from home in the truest sense.
Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse
As time ticks forward my interest in the occult strengthens. As a child, it were those that go “bump in the night” that kept me up until morning light, but, as a human being with a will to learn, I turned my fears into the greatest power of all; knowledge. Thus, I started researching things of the supernatural persuasion. While I’m not attempting to summon a demon, or go searching for goblins, interacting with spectres, or hunting for urban legends, research into more esoteric subjects is what has helped me transition from a frightened child, to a less-frightened adult. Thoughts of theology, existentialism, and the paranormal flood my mind from moment to moment, and it’s most likely the reason I am such a fan of Atlus’ Shin Megami Tensei series of gruesome JRPGs, my favorite of which is none other than the long-awaited sequel; Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse.
SMT has always piqued my interest, not only with their intricate, well-written tales of polytheist war but with their cast of characters and, above all, the game’s interesting mechanical layout. None, though, have impressed me more than the most recent Apocalypse. While many will know Atlus for titles like Persona, it is the mainline series of SMT games that holds within them the true essence of the occult. Apocalypse pits God against God as each fight for universal rule. You, a human, and the main character, are nothing but a pawn in a game so large that no man could truly comprehend. The game twists and turns as the world around you become more corrupted, with each decision you make bringing with it great consequence. Apocalypse is the SMT game that I had been waiting for since I first laid eyes on the series’ original title…I just didn’t know it yet.
Apocalypse took everything the team at Atlus had learned from their years in the development room and crammed it all into a handheld title unlike any other. Apocalypse, though obviously not the thought of all others, is the game I will remember as being Atlus’ greatest accomplishment. That is…until the top themselves again with whatever they have planned for the recently-released Nintendo Switch. While most of my other entries in this series relied heavily on personal stories about games affecting my everyday life, I love Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse for the simple reason that it gave me exactly what I wanted from a video game at exactly the right moment of my life. It gave me the opportunity to live out my dream of wielding deadly, demonic creatures while still being able to explore the urban environments of apocalyptic Japan, knowing that, with every step, I was working towards a brighter future. Apocalypse was an experience that will go down in my personal history as unparalleled.
Super Smash Bros. 3DS
I had the DS. I did not feel any major reason to abandon it in favour of the 3DS. It seemed like a cool idea, it’s just that those things cost money and I don’t have money. So I was perfectly content to ride my DS wave into the sweet void of nothingness. Then someone who was younger than me wanted to ‘see it’. It goes without saying, however I will say it anyway, YOUTHS ARE THE DEVIL. That kind seemed to be offended by the ‘Dual’ in ‘dual screen’ and promptly snapped the thing in half. Defeated, I resigned myself to not being able to play The World Ends With You for the umpteenth time. All of a sudden my neighbour was walking past and struck up a conversation. He was moving and had a 3DS he no longer wanted. It appeared as if nobody told him that the console was portable and I wasn’t about to shatter that misconception. So I said “sure, how much?” to which he replied “uh… give me $40”.
So here I am, 3DS in hand and not much to do with it. I tested the console by playing a game at random, I think it was The World Ends With You or something. It was nice and all, I even got one or two 3DS games to try the 3d out which was pretty cool. After a while, with the thing growing dust, Nintendo released an XL so I grabbed that with both hands. Shoutout to Mick from that one JB:HI Fi store that opened the doors for me even though I was 10 min past closing time. I picked up the XL console Pokemon Omega Ruby, and I also picked up… oh is that Smash? Well it has been a while, ill give it a go.
And give it a go I did! Whilst I played a lot of the N64 game and some of the Wii and Gamecube versions, I was never too into Smash Bros. and the ‘Pro’ audience made it seem like something I wouldn’t master so I continued to play it for fun. That’s when I found it, For Glory. I jumped straight into 1v1 and after getting beaten once or twice I started to see patterns like the god damn Rain Man. Soon enough I was Spiking, Dashing, Perfecting all of it, and more importantly, winning. I main Link and Samus, both of which are spam characters. Accordingly, most people try to close in. This is my strat as I don’t spam, I attack! Not so fun with a mater sword down your face, casual scum. I overdid it though and now the circle pad broke off of my 3DS. Please send money and well wishes for the ‘Fix Jake’s Broken 3DS Fund’.
Streetpass Mii Street Plaza
The 3DS will always hold a special place in my heart for one particular reason and oddly it isn’t because of any game. My fondest memory of the 3DS comes through two of its apps, the Streetpass Mii Plaza and the now defunct Letter Box. Hold your gasps of shock, I’ll explain.
About 5 years ago, I began dating a girl who would go on to become the love of my life. Little did we know that at the time however. We were unaware of all that awaited us in the future, the journeys we would take, the emotions we would share, the things we would do together and the love we would come to feel for each other still remained unwritten.
Early into our relationship we both got the 3DS and it became a surprising source of romance between us thanks to the use of Streetpass and Letter Box. We begun exchanging cute little messages of love through these apps, each time we would meet we would discover the message we had left each other last time. We met on Streetpass what has got to be hundreds of times, with hundreds of letters of love shared and the same was done with the Letter Box. We would spend hours drawing cute little pictures and sending them off to one another. Sadly as time went on the Letter Box service was switched off by Nintendo and we both slowly didn’t take the 3DS with us as much anymore for streetpassing purposes. But those memories of our 3DS love letters stays imprinted in my heart and mind even after all these years. I love her more and more and I’m glad we had the 3DS to bond over in those early days when the world was wide enough that worries about life and the future seemed like they could wait.