Ah! giant of the game industry, how you enslave us with your tricky commercial moves… I am obviously lurking at you, world’s largest video game company, influencing billions of us each second, through your manipulative addicting methods, and sweet tempting distractions. So I will address this article to you all, poor souls that got the whole new next generation portable console by Nintendo. And for those still lucky to have escaped the seducing expensive grasp of this devilish object until now, I hope whatever follows will not encourage you to concede to the time-devouring monster that stands before you.
Every time Nintendo acts, we can all wonder at whatever will happen next. Each GameBoy had us use dozens of batteries, and I can still remember the pain of the blister on my thumb caused by my many hours pressing A & B. Each Mario transformed us into competitive and stubborn creatures, always wanting to surpass the siblings in beating levels with astonishing success. Each Pokemon taught us to become independent at an early-age, but most of all reach for the very goal of being the best and first to achieve perfection. Each Zelda showed us to respect animals to prevent their wraith delivery upon our frail bodies, and to save the day thanks to our dedication. But this is just describing little of the many lessons known by players growing along those master pieces. And I continue to be impressed, as years pass by, whenever some insignificant novelty matters much more than we could wish.
So the 3DS finally saw the light, and fall into my hands a couple months ago. The last GameBoy I owned was the first version of the Dual Screens ones, and I have to say it is very pleasant to witness the beautiful evolution between the two. I knew of the various additions to the model – letting the ergonomic shape aside -, of course, but did not check them for myself at the moment. Taking pictures, creating your Mii, checking your movements & activities day by day, drawing animated letters to your friends, buying diverse content online, having a try at augmented reality, throwing balls at heads flying around you… and collecting encounters with others.
Huh-oh ! Collecting encounters. Meeting more and more Miis, to stock them in your Plaza. Just having them there, as a proof of your many travels around other 3DS users. Then using them as pawns for mini-games. Does it not seem so pointless to you ? Because it does to me. And I like it.
Not everything we do needs to be necessary, nor even meaningful – that is in fact called procrastination, most internet users are quite aware of the problem I believe. I procrastinate a lot, considering it myself like a waste of time, and I rather dislike losing my precious minutes. Sadly, procrastination can be terribly bewitching… Especially when you have so many plans, that you do not know what to start with and become bored. At the same time, quite the reverse, I actually need to put a meaning behind everything and understand it. So, oddly, I endeavor to find reasons to the inexplicable, and define my losing time as required for the sake of me – for others, there are just excuses.
Back to our main attraction : the StreetPass mini-games. The point is to distract. Have a change of mind. Take a pleasant break during the day. And that is all there is to it. But they are made in a way that will have you playing again, and again, until you consider yourself done. Here lies the genius. Only two of them are available for free : a puzzle game & an RPG-like one. Then there are four other games, quite appealing by their little in-app presentation, costing five euros each, or fifteen for the whole package. As stupid as it may seem, I bought these mini-games. I collect encounters to play them. And it is pretty enjoyable.
Probably the less interesting. Getting pieces from others to complete puzzles and admire the little 3D animations. Apart from the wish to catch ‘em all – in particular those of games you like -, there is nothing.
You, lazy king of a nonexistent kingdom, are kidnapped, and in need of unknown heroes to save your bottom. They defeat monsters turn by turn, thanks to their swords or color-dependent magic (red magic is best magic), until you make it safe back to your castle. You pick up customization hats along the way, and achievements for clearing certain rooms.
A shoot-em-up like. Nice little synopsis behind the stages : the Mii force is defending the galaxy against bad guys. Each shirt color gets you a different weapon – the white and light blue are fantastic. Three Stages with three levels each. Enemies along the way, gems to pick up, boss fights. Quite simple at the beginning with only a few friends pods, getting really annoyingly hard quite quickly without a full squad. Three objectives to the levels : recovering five treasures, not losing anybody, and reaching the target score. Challenging, anyway. You better hack your box into a Nintendo Zone in order to play.
I did not see anything particular in this one at first, but I ended up thinking it was actually one of my top 2. It could seem like it is just a bit of gardening, there is a bit more to it. To get the different breeds, you need to understand what seeds will grow into, how to get the best of your harvest, and what plant should be the one for each order placed. Nice variety of flowers – eighty in total -, lovely to the eye, kind of challenging for the rather rare to obtain legendary families.
First thing to choose : modern-, medieval-, or Japanese-inspired culture. Then, you build up an army, and conquer the world one country at a time. You also expend your castle to unblock features such as ninjas – to spy on the opponent for is new move. This game is based on… guess what ? Luck. Rock, paper, scissors for you. Made slightly more interesting.
You are an investigator visiting an haunted mansion to show the world that no ghost lives there, and quickly realize you are absolutely wrong about it. Thirty empty floors, map pieces to recover from lost individuals in order to reassemble the ground and advance through the household, weapons to collect to get stronger and beat up the spirits… Occasionally some puzzles to solve. Also part of my personal top 2 !
Concluding quite simply : if you have too much money on your hands, and are one of the many people carrying their device everywhere, these are created for you to begin with – not that I had too much, I just drifted… Your activity log will even eventually inform you how many steps were walked during your day. Remember as well that hundred steps equal to a PlayCoin, helpful item for quickening your progression in any of the games listed above. Achieving some tasks in the latter games rewards you with PlazaTickets, unlocking more customization skins for you Mii. Oh, vanity… !