My Hopes for Zelda Mobile

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I don’t consider myself a mobile gamer. I have some time-killers I play on the train, but I still struggle to see mobile gaming as “real gaming.”

But The Legend of Zelda is making the leap to mobile devices later this year and I’ll be on board for that. MORE ZELDA! Still, this version needs to feel as big as the franchise, especially on the coattails of Breath of the Wild, while adopting a mobile formula that encourages habitual use. Some features and functions that I’d love to see include:

Daily puzzles. The Legend of Zelda is legendary for its challenging puzzles- there are 120 shrines to solve in Breath of the Wild. With the breadth of functionality offered by mobile devices from touch screens to gyroscopic/movement-based controls, puzzle innovation is nearly endless and can be varied enough to not feel repetitive. Give me a new challenge every day

Real World integration. Hyrule is a HUGE place and I want to feel like I’m exploring it in the real world. Much like walking hatches eggs in Pokemon Go, I’d like my daily physical activity to translate to my mini hero in-game. Do I need to walk 3 miles to get to Zora’s Domain and unlock new puzzles? Bring me my running shoes and let’s go on a quest!

Link as a secondary character. I’d be less critical of it as a Zelda game and more delighted I get to play alongside my favorite characters and themes. Let me customize my own sprite who interacts with Link in my own story. Maybe Link is my silent sensei, training me to protect Hyrule so he can retire. Or maybe he needs me to rescue him! I love playing as Link, but I’m craving my own adventure. Mobile would be a perfect platform to try this kind of alternative story formula since it’s not a traditional vehicle for Zelda games and players’ expectations for mobile games are vastly different than console. There could even be an opportunity for microtransactions to buy new character features, clothes or accessories.

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Selfies! It’s mobile! Come on. Those Wind Waker selfies were adorable and hilarious. Nintendo could drive engagement and promotion with a selfie feature that’s easily sharable to social.

What do you want to see in a mobile Zelda game?

How Nintendo Switch is Driving me Back to Physical Games

I’m a Taurus. As a lover of physical things, I like to surround myself with the material items that speak most to me and bring joy into my space- candles, jewelry, art, plants.

As a New Yorker, that space is already filled the moment I step into it. The items I keep need to be deeply meaningful and beautiful as well as fairly functional. Moving to digital downloads has helped me reduce clutter AND keep a larger library (read: daunting backlog).

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Hiding my games within a clear carrier from the old Club Nintendo days

And while I do still have a nice little collection of physical DS games for which I’ve found accessible-yet-invisible storage solutions, I actively seek out digital downloads to preserve my sacred space.

Nintendo Switch– and particularly indie game publishers- are changing that.

Artful packaging draws me in a variety of ways. The clear plastic shell for Switch games is much less visible and intrusive than the white 3DS and blue WiiU shells were. It’s a major upgrade toward keeping my space looking like it belongs to someone who is at least trying to look like a grown up.

There’s been a lot of debate about the size of the box relative to the size of the game, but in a loud retail environment, you need a canvas for enticing visuals. Nicalis has even released two editions for The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ each with covetable  covers.

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via Nicalis

It seems instruction manuals started to phase out slowly.  Around the time Club Nintendo shuttered, I don’t remember seeing them anymore at all. I always loved thumbing through the manuals, reading character backstories, admiring the artwork and learning a handful of secrets. The “notes” pages in the back were filled with my hand-scrawled discoveries, codes and strategies like a little game diary.

The Nintendo games I’ve purchased so far for Switch continue the trend of missing manuals, but indie publishers like Nicalis have begun to revive them. Cave Story+ was just announced for a June 20th Nintendo Switch release- with an instruction booklet highlighted.

The Binding of Isaac included a gorgeous instruction manual which conjured nostalgia feels for the original Legend of Zelda on NES with its shiny gold cover.

And that’s not all! Indie physical releases are becoming known for including extras and trinkets. If you pre-ordered Isaac from Amazon (or were lucky enough to get an early edition from another retailer), you got two sheets of stickers AND a reversible game cover!

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Goodies in my copy of The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+

When and IF Axiom Verge comes to the Switch- the chances of which Tom Happ told me were “decent” back in January, though a Switch release has not yet been confirmed– I’d suspect it will follow a similar format to its other physical releases and include some extras like the STELLAR soundtrack.

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It’s exciting again to pick up a physical copy of a game. And I no longer feel like game cases on my shelf look childish or take away from my aesthetic. Hopefully the future of Switch releases holds many more surprises and shelf candy!

First Look: Nintendo Switch

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Splatoon 2 in handheld mode on Nintendo Switch

After an awkward Nintendo Direct Thursday night, I had some concerns about the Nintendo Switch. There weren’t any shocking new reveals about the hardware. The presentation was clunky and poorly executed. By the end, I was having  Wii U flashbacks and preemptive buyer’s remorse about the lack of launch titles.Over the weekend I had an exclusive opportunity to experience the Switch first hand at a “secret location,” thanks to my Gal Friday Gluxbox and I’m pretty confident it’s going to change the game.

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Breath of the Wild Link “greeted” us at the entrance to the space

The space was configured across two rooms with the main room divided into different console use scenarios. Nintendo created an airplane,  a cozy living room, the interior of an RV and a seat in “Mario’s Diner” (to this displaced Jersey girl’s delight and amusement). A huge presentation screen divided the room where Nintendo staffers held gameshow-like demos throughout the evening. The rest of the space featured lounge areas where we could kick back and kick ass.

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It’s a squid! It’s a kid! It’s a squid!

Splatoon 2 was easily one of my highlights. The station showcased both TV and handheld play, and allowed us to team up and splet other attendees. I was massively disappointed with the Wii U, but Splatoon was THE game that revived my console from the dusty graveyard of my entertainment center. Naturally, I was excited to check out a new weapon and MUCH smoother gameplay in Splatoon 2 on the Switch. On the handheld configuration, the gyroscope feeks much more intuitive. The system itself is thinner, smoother and far less clunky than the GamePad was, offering a less frustrating experience that STAAAAAAYS FRESH!

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This is what championship milkers look like

We ducked over to two large glass booths housing Nintendo staffers in silly hats to try out 1 2 Switch. This game, which should come packaged with the console but does not, includes a variety of games that show off the hardware features and functionalities. Wild West Dueling pitted Glux and I against each other in a showdown, eyes locked and intimidation faces on!

If you saw the Nintendo Direct, you may remember a demonstration involving ice cubes shaking in a glass. Without the joycon in your hand, it was impossible to make an impact. But playing Balls (yes. That’s literally the name of the game) you can really feel a number objects rolling around “inside” the joycon (yes. The object of the game is literally to feel balls).

By far the best of the 1 2 Switch demo was a little game called Milk.

Yep. You strategically squeeze and tug the joycon to simulate “milking a cow” and whoever milks the most glasses wins. Hysterical. I was on the floor laughing because I am a grown ass adult here. Is this game worth being sold separately for $49.99? Probably not. Again, it’s a cool way to show off all the capabilities but software like this should really come preinstalled.

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One of three Inkling Girl options in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Many people seem pretty disappointed that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe won’t include any new tracks, but I LOVE the new Inkling additions and their karts. Plus, Nintendo brings back Battle Mode in this version- a nostalgic throwback I’ve been missing in every Mario Kart game since I was a kid. I’m looking forward to reliving my sibling rivalries from afar!

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Making Nintendo Great Again

After several addictive battle rounds and some races, I got called up on stage with a stranger to play a co-op puzzle game, Snipperclips. This may be a cult hit for the Switch. It was unexpectedly, but delightfully engaging, silly and just challenging enough that I didn’t make a total ass of myself on stage. I won the sweet hats Glux and I are modeling above.

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Switch swag

We got some time on Street Fighter, PuyoPuyo Tetris, Just Dance and others. The comfort and ease of using the joycons in their various forms for every game, regardless of intensity, surprised me throughout the event. I particularly loved being able to use the joycon independently in each hand. When we played multiplayer games that utilized the joycon completely independently, they were small, but still totally manageable and comfortable. The whole system felt quite sleek and sturdy, unlike the juvenile and clunky Wii U Gamepad.

If you’re a dude or have bigger hands, you might want to consider the pricey pro controller. I’ll likely grab one for my boyfriend, along with the joycon charging grip (because we are going to be lost in this thing for the rest of the year). We also saw little wheel peripherals for Mario Kart- a fun novelty, but they’ve never done anything for my racing experience, personally.

We had to leave way too soon, but got some nice swag and a thirst for more Switch. March 3rd can’t come soon enough!

If you’ve been quick/lucky enough to score a preorder, I recommend trading your Wii U in sooner than later before the market floods and the trade value drops. I traded my system and several games in on Monday for over $400 in credit!!!  That’ll more than cover the accessories I want to get the most out of the Switch when it finally launches.

13 Pokemon That Look Like Dicks

In honor of Pokemon’s 20th anniversary and the announcement of Pokemon Sun and Moon, I’ve compiled the top most phallic Pokemon.

011Metapod

011 Metapod
If the Jolly Green Giant had Jolly Green Genitals that became sentient, that’s this. And with signature moves like “Harden,” Metapod leaves nothing to the imagination.

600px-014Kakuna

014 Kakuna
Just look at that shiny, smooth bulbous head. Maybe more of a butt plug, actually?

050Diglett

050 Diglett
#thatlookslikeadick

1200px-162Furret

162 Furret
Soft. Furry. Likes narrow spaces.

1200px-185Sudowoodo

185 Sudowoodo
From the Japanese meaning “pseudo wood.”

1200px-202Wobbuffet

202 Wobbuffet
This Pokemon is a literal representation of blue balls.

213Shuckle

213 Shuckle
At my old agency, there was a Creative Director who would get drunk and expound his ideas for insane sex toys. One was an interconnected series of sockets that met in the middle known as the Dick Dock. This is that. Preorder yours today!

1200px-224Octillery

224 Octillery
You’re a little turned on. Admit it. I am.

1200px-256Combusken

256 Combusken
If this isn’t a dick and balls with claws, I know nothing.

308Medicham

308 Medicham
MEDICHAM: the groundbreaking new treatment in fertility! Ask your doctor today. Side effects may include warts.

321Wailord

321 Wailord
Incoming! Literally.

1200px-346Cradily

346 Cradily
Artist: *draws a dick*
CEO: Good, but missing something.
Artist: *draws 8 more dicks*
CEO: …it’s so beautiful *tears*

1200px-602Tynamo

602 Tynamo
Guys. That mouth. Would teeth make this look less like a dick or just like a more terrifying one?

13 Pokemon That Look Like Dicks first appeared on Buzzfeed Community.

Nintendo Direct Takeaways 11.12.15

Now that I’ve had some time to process yesterday’s Nintendo Direct, here are some quick thoughts:

Twilight Princess HD (3/4)
Confession: I love the Legend of Zelda, but I’m a terrible fan. I never played Twilight Princess. Skyward Sword is still on my shelf. And because I can barely handle time in real life, I’ve yet to complete Majora’s Mask. Backlog is real. However, I’m thrilled about this HD release and preordered it today. This will be my Winter of Zelda.

Triforce Heroes Free Update (12/2)
As we’re watching Nintendo move into mobile and “free-to-start” games, free updates and no-cost DLC feel like a huge gift.The 30-plus stages in the “Den of Trials” update essentially doubles the game content (and maybe helps with lag pls?). We’re also getting two new costumes. Linebeck’s Uniform lets you see inside treasure chests (meh) and the Fierce Deity Armor (aka the Krampus Kostume) shoots beams in four different directions and increases attack power (Yay!).

Star Fox Zero (4/22)
Fun fact: Fox was one of my early crushes.
Another fun fact: I once won (and donated) a 3DS and a bunch of games from Nintendo by doing a barrel roll.
Third fun fact: This game releases on my birthday.
Maybe it’s a coincidence. Maybe Fox returns my affections. Hard to say.
Anyway. Looks great. It’s going to feel good to fly the arwing again. I’m going to annihilate in that tank. The new vehicles aren’t as exciting to me, but i’ll give them all a try.

Final Fantasy Explorers (1/26)
I played FFE for about 30 minutes at NYCC and it was the highlight of a lacklustre Con. The live battles (as opposed to run-slash-stop mechanics) were a blast and I enjoyed seeing my old buddy Bahamut. I’m thrilled that we’re finally starting to see more multiplayer titles for the 3DS. For a portable system, it can feel really lonely. Can’t wait to put together a team (and even to train some monsters to fight with me) and conquer some quests. And, of course, I’m looking forward to playing as some of my favorite characters across the franchise.
Sidebar: anyone else catch the fact that Cloud was lumped into the “and others” group in this game while headlining the Smash announcement with virtually no introduction needed? #continuity
Oh. That collector’s edition is ridiculously gorgeous too. So. Yeah. Preordered.

Cloud in Smash
Midgar Stage. Music. Limit Break. Yeah, I’m into this. Cloud wasn’t my first choice for Smash. He wasn’t even on my list, honestly. Mostly because his inclusion was so obvious that this wasn’t even a surprise. I’m happy and I’ll play him, but I was really hoping for Shantae or another equally awesome indie female character.

Pokemon Red, Yellow & Blue on 3DS!!!!! (Feb 27)
Ok I’m calm. As a collector, I just love these coming to Virtual Console because it saves a ton of effort, energy, money and space. Now I can play the games without worrying about the batteries in my GameBoy dying. Let’s save those batteries for more important things! This should make catching ’em all a hell of a lot easier.

Bravely Second (Spring)
Not much of an update here, but a good reminder to get this game finished in the next few months. I sort of lost interest after hours of grinding and leveling toward the end. Finish your games!

A Guide to TriForce Heroes Etiquette

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Now that we’ve had a couple weeks with the newest Zelda entry from Nintendo, I’ve put together some useful tips to help everyone have a more enjoyable (and fashionable) experience.

1) When selecting a dungeon within an area, go in chronological order. You may be eager to try your newly stitched Cozy Parka in Snowball Ravine, but this area could be totally new to the Unknown Heroes. Go through them in order. You’ll get to your unfinished business and everyone else can complete all the stages. It’s a co-op. So cooperate. As a bonus: you’ll get more materials and rupees.

Speaking of materials and rupees:

2) Share the wealth. I’m guilty of being a rupee snatcher, especially when I know where all the chests are hidden. Totem toss a buddy to that out-of-reach purple rupee from time to time.

3) Don’t mash “NOOOOOO” if you don’t get the rare(r) item at the end.

Speaking of mashing emojis:

4) Don’t. Seriously. The emojis are cute and can be crucial in communicating how to solve a puzzle to your teammates, but smashing “itemitemITEMITEMITEM” will not instruct Red Link how to use it. And during a stressful boss battle, those emojis are distracting and can block a crucial chunk of screen where we might be trying to carefully aim and time a shot.

5) Please, please don’t drop out if there’s lag. And DON’T drop out if there’s no lag. When I see the “Sorry, something urgent came up and I have to leave” speech bubble, I just assume you are a demented Skulltula- dropping in just to fuck shit up. Finish the dungeon and then leave from the lobby like a human being.

6) If you’re not wearing an outfit designed to boost the special items/weapons for each area, let other players choose first. You’ll only benefit from their extra power.

Playing TriForce Heroes? Leave your tips and thoughts!