Problem rectified!

I got a 3DS charger last Saturday. Nope, it wasn’t the one I ordered from ShopTo. Had to settle for a GAMEware one which cost more than an official one because high street and lack of logic. That, and the fact that there were about 700 trillion people walking around Brighton at the same time basically explains why I never go into town. 😛 Funnily enough, the one I ordered from ShopTo arrived on Tuesday, but it’s just sat at the post office because I don’t need it. Just waiting for them to return it to sender and get a refund. And inevitably I’ll have to send ShopTo an e-mail when they don’t refund me. And then counter their inevitable “no refunds after 7 days of receipt” argument with “I never took receipt of the goods because they were late so fuck you”. 😛  That’s how it’s playing out in my head, anyway. 😛

RIGHT, YES, the console. I’ve played… three games on it now, excluding the AR games I had a go at. My thoughts so far? It’s… almost awesome.

First let me confirm that there has been absolutely zero problems with it despite the fact that it’s an Australian-region 3DS. It acts in exactly the same way as a European 3DS. All the games I bought from the UK work perfectly, the Nintendo Store says it’s for Europe and Australia when you open it for the first time, and StreetPass works, too. 🙂

The only real problem I have with the console is the ergonomics, but it’s such a big problem it almost ruins it. I’ve never had anything that I’ve been unable to play for more than a few hours because of how uncomfortable it is to hold. I played a time attack on Space Invaders Extreme 2, and my hand was starting to go numb by the time I reached the final stage. It only took about 13 minutes. 😛 It’s essentially just a large, unfoldable brick, and the corners of the unfolded brick dig into my palms quite firmly as I’m holding it. It’s fine for a short while, but it starts to hurt eventually.

Another issue is the shortish battery life. I’ve barely played it today, maybe about 3 hours, but it’s already gone through half its battery. So about… 6 hours of battery life? It’s reasonable, it’d definitely last me if I went back home on the train/bus and took it with me. Not like my hands would last that long holding it. 😛

Apart from those things, it’s really good. The 3D effect is still fun yet weird; it’s like peering through a window into a room that isn’t there. 😀 I’ve also gotten to understand the firmware a bit more. It comes bundled with a step counter which awards these “Play Coins” every 100 steps you take in a day, but doesn’t give more than 10 a day. Apparently today I’ve taken 2756 steps, which is pretty eye-opening. I had no idea it takes that many steps to get to work and back. 😀 Of course, I can imagine it’s pretty inaccurate, especially since it’s in my bag. 😛 The Play Coins can be used to unlock AR games or to make progress in StreetPass games. I think that’s all they’re for.

StreetPass is really cool. It’s like the PlayStation Vita’s “near”. Well, apart from StreetPass absolutely obliterates the living turd out of Near. Near only works through WiFi or 3G if you bought that version of the Vita for some reason, and it takes people who were within several miles of your location at some point and tells you what they’ve been playing. As if you care. 😛 StreetPass runs all the time while your device is sleeping (when the cover’s closed) and attempts to communicate with any other 3DS that comes into range.

The firmware has a game which uses StreetPass already built-in, called StreetPass Mii Plaza. The devices exchange Miis and information such as your greeting and where you’re from. When you check your 3DS and open up Mii Plaza, all the Miis belonging to people you passed on the street show up in your plaza. You can then use them in a couple of free mini-games. Puzzle Swap lets you take pieces of an image from Miis you met, with the aim of completing all the images. StreetPass Quest is a mini-RPG where the Miis you met fight through dungeons in a simplistic turn-based RPG, with the aim of rescuing your Mii (who happens to be the king). It’s actually a really fun feature. 😀 The only problem is… finding people is surprisingly hard. I’ve only had 9 StreetPass hits so far, despite the fact I live in a fairly big city. The first day I got no hits at all, and wondered if it was region-locked or something. I actually changed my route to work the next day in an attempt to get more hits, and suddenly got 4 on the way to work. I kept on the same route the next day and got zero. Today I got 5 on the way back from work. Same route, but all completely different people. I have no idea where I’m picking these people up. I have a feeling it’s because I go over a bridge that passes over a train station now. Maybe I picked up some commuters with 3DSs. 😛 If that’s the case, holy crap, not a single one of the ~100 houses I pass twice has a 3DS in there? Not a single person I pass on the street has one, either? Eh, maybe everyone around here is so obsessed with running around and desperately trying not to get fat overnight that treadmills are more popular than video games, or something. Everyone seems to vote Green around here, after all. But the 3DS has a STEP COUNTER! That’s healthy living, right?! 😛

I played the built-in AR games, too. I’m pretty sure AR is already dead in gaming, but these games shit all over the Vita’s offerings. 😛 There’s a target game, which presents a bunch of different interesting arrangements of targets to shoot, and you really have to move the DS around to get some of them. For some reason it culminates with a boss fight against a dragon. 😛 There’s a mini-golf style game, too. That also culminates with a boss fight against a dragon. There’s fishing too. Guess what? It culminates in a YES, boss fight against a dragon! It was pretty funny. I didn’t really expect it in the first and second games, but by the time I got to the third game I was like “Yep, time’s up, where’s the dragon?” 😀

The main problem with these games, though, is that the DS keeps losing track of the AR card as you try to reposition yourself, and it’s insanely intolerant. It wants you to be at a distance of about 30cm. It’s impossible to do that all the time, but getting just a bit too close or moving a bit too far away messes up the AR and/or the 3D. I don’t know exactly what kind of surface it expects you to use. A coffee table is too low, the floor is far too low and it’s super-difficult to move around the card, and a desk or dining table is too large so you can’t manoeuvre around the card very easily. For AR, though, it was pretty fun. Good demo for the 3D, too. 😀

As for the full games, well, the only one I’ve played specifically for the 3DS so far is Super Mario 3D Land. It’s pretty fun, but it’s a bit simplistic and far too easy right now. You start with 4 lives, and I ended up with about 40 by the time I entered World 3. 😛 Haven’t played any levels in World 3 yet. I’ve heard it gets harder, though. 😀

The only other games I’ve played are standard DS games. Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call, and Space Invaders Extreme 2. This Professor Layton is pretty much like all the others, including my opinion of it. Great story with a bunch of cool mysteries, and nice FMVs with good voicework, too. The puzzles are a mixed bag, yet again. Some are genuinely good, whereas others aren’t explained well enough, are completely subjective or require you to use stupidly obscure methods to get the answer. Like one puzzle where it asks “which key fits in the door” and the answer is a key that definitely doesn’t look like it would fit, but it so happens to be a special key that you have to insert, turn partway, insert further and turn it the rest of the way. It’s not really a puzzle, because I’ve never seen a key like that ever, so I would never get the answer by myself! It’s still a good game, but I’m hoping the newer games at least have some better puzzles.

I’ve played Space Invaders Extreme 2 on DeSmuME (a DS emulator) before. It was so good I just had to have it if I was going to get a real DS. It’s difficult for me to explain why it’s so good in detail. It’s just a combination of the different scoring methods and features, how it uses both screens so effectively, and the epic music, along with how almost every sound is synchronized to the rhythm, and just the energy and feel of the game. And holy shit, that announcer is a god. 😀 It’s just so much fun. It almost feels like an epic game show! 😀 It’s probably best if you see it for yourself. I did record a video of it a long time ago when I played it on DeSmuME, here it is. Just me trying to amass as many points as I could on Stage 1. “YOU MADE IT OUT THIS TIME, BUT THIS ISN’T THE END! IT’S FEVER TIME!!” 😀

All in all, yep, it’s a really good console. Especially for the price I paid. 😀 And hell, it actually has GAMES on it! 😛 Got plenty more games on my list that I need to get, but I’ll play through the ones I’ve got first! 😉

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Order is 71.4% complete! That’s almost enough!

Hewwo. 🙂

Aaaaas I mentioned in my last post, I went about ordering an Australian n3DSXL and a bunch of other stuff to go with it, partially worried about the console’s region. Here’s an update on the everything.

I ordered seven items in total. Five games (the three newest Professor Layton games, Space Invaders Extreme 2 and Super Mario 3D Land), the 3DS (obviously) and a 3DS charger, since one isn’t included. Five of those items have arrived. Thankfully, and amazingly, one of them is the 3DS. Y’know what one of the others isn’t? The charger! And now it’s Friday and almost certainly won’t be delivered tomorrow so now I can’t play it over the weekend!

TYPICAAAAAAL!

Of the other items, I recieved every 3DS game and Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call, a standard DS game. Space Invaders Extreme 2 was only just shipped this afternoon. Bit of a slow marketplace seller on Amazon, but it’s no biggie. So pissed about the charger though. That 3DS has come all the way from China, gone through Germany and somehow got through London on its way down to me in Hove, and it only took three days on economy shipping. FedEx gon’ give it to ya indeed. 😛 On the other hand, this charger hasn’t even made it through the friggin’ Royal Mail 2nd Class postal service yet. The game sent by 2nd Class however, did make it here. Both ordered from ShopTo. The only difference is that the charger was manually packed and the game was packed by a robot. So I have a feeling that it wasn’t sent at all, or Royal Mail have lost it. I’ll probably head into town to buy it if it’s still not arrived by tomorrow afternoon. If there’re any left, that is. I mean, the new 3DS was only just released today. Tons of people will be needing chargers. 😛

The 3DS did have some residual charge left, however, so I’ve been able to play around with the system for a li’l bit. First impressions? Well, it’s way bigger than I expected. It’s almost as wide as the Vita, and folded up, it’s about half a centimetre taller! It’s slightly thicker, as well. This isn’t a bad thing for me; I’m completely happy with how big it is. Surprisingly, it’s actually heavier than the Vita, too. Not by much, but… this device doesn’t have quite as much power. As is kinda demonstrated by the fact I can see the pixels on the screens from quite a significant distance away. The screens are large, but the resolution isn’t, so the pixel density is… not great. The LCD monitor on my keyboard isn’t far off beating it. 😛

The controls are pretty cool. The circle pad is nice and feels pretty grippy. The D-Pad is almost great. It’s slightly loose and rattles around a little bit, which is weird. The buttons are good, and the ZL and ZR buttons are better than I thought they’d be. The C-Stick is just… huh. I don’t really get it yet. It’s tiny and doesn’t feel like it moves. I haven’t been able to play any game yet, let alone ones that support it, but it feels like it might be pressure-sensitive or something. I dunno. We’ll find out eventually, I suppose. 🙂

The system software is, in true Nintendo fashion, really friendly, fun, smooth and responsive. Unlike my last experience with Nintendo system software, however (the Wii), this one is nice to use. It’s got some cool, little things embedded in the software, too, like a step counter which rewards you in some way I’ve yet to see. 😛 Of course, being Nintendo, there’re also some stupid things. First thing I noticed is that you can only have three saved wireless connections, which is… retarded. 😛 It doesn’t make any sense at all. I’ve connected it to my home wireless and my work’s wireless, meaning I only have one slot left. If I went to visit my parents but went over to my sister’s house for one night while I was there, I’d have to keep deleting and re-creating the third connection every time I switched locations. Durrrrr. Another stupid thing is that the “Health and Safety Information” software is permanently embedded on your home screen. Lel? I don’t need or want that. The PS Vita does the same damn thing with stuff like e-mail. Why can’t I choose what is and is not on my system?!

The 3D effect is… well, I’m not really a fan of 3D. But even I have to say that it’s pretty awesome. I don’t really understand how it can do it without requiring glasses, but damn, it really works! I don’t know what it was like on the standard 3DS, but the new 3DS appears to track the position of your head and adjust the 3D effect accordingly, something they call “Super-Stable 3D”. It seems to work pretty well; I never noticed any problems when my attention was focused on the device, but the effect starts to break if you stray too far from the screen or don’t look at it directly. The effect is far too much for me on maximum power, though; I have to put it at about 50% otherwise objects start doubling-up and I end up having to try focusing on stuff actively. 😛 I can imagine the novelty wearing off eventually, but it’s awesome for now. 😀

That’s about all I’ve been able to go through. I’m not yet sure if there’re any compatibility problems due to it being an Australian 3DS, but it recognised the game card I inserted just fine. Couldn’t play it though; the power ran out before I could start the game. 😛 I’ve set up a Mii and activated the Mii Plaza, so we’ll see what StreetPass is all about soon. Probably on Monday, but maybe even tomorrow if the charger finally arrives. Wonder if anyone along my route to work has a 3DS? We’ll see. 😛

I guess I made the wrong choice.

Luigi’s Mansion. Super Mario. Professor Layton. Rhythm Paradise. They are but a small selection of games that AREN’T available on the handheld I chose.

I’ve come to the realisation that I made a pretty big mistake.

Way back in… 2012, I think? Maybe even 2011. Anyway, I bought a Vita at least three years ago. I started out really liking the console, but… my “relationship” with it has been on a steady decline ever since. I’ve only just realised how bad it really is. Would you like to know how many PS Vita game cards I own? Four. That’s barely one game a year. Of course, in reality, I also own Pinball Arcade with quite a few tables. Plants vs Zombies is in my collection, too, along with the rather good Super Stardust Delta. I also recently bought Resogun, which is… meh, okay. Hasn’t really blown me away. Oh, and I also own digital copies of Patapon 1 and 2, but they aren’t PS Vita games, so they don’t really count.

But I can’t even remember the last game I bought before Resogun. I think it was LittleBigPlanet PS Vita, but it might’ve been DJ Max Technika Tune. Either way, that was two years ago. Since then, only two games have been released that I kinda-want-but-not-really, Dragon’s Crown and Disgaea 4. Dragon’s Crown looks cool but I don’t think it’ll be that much fun single player. As for Disgaea 4, I’m tempted, but I know it’ll demand far more time that I’m willing to spend. I played the original and really loved the storyline and dialogue, but it was so repetitive that I never played through the entire story, let alone reached the point of insanity where your stats go out of the box and you can do billions of damage and get counter counter counter counter counter counters. 😛

Everything else coming out on the Vita is a joke. It’s got great graphical capabilities and the most features and control options I’ve ever seen on anything, so what’s out for it? Generic JRPGs no-one has ever heard of outside of Japan, and CONSTANT VISUAL NOVELS. I thought that Monster Hunter 4 would be released for it eventually and that would generate some serious attention, but hysterically, they released MH4U on the 3DS, a much weaker and graphically unimpressive console, while we get some really shite knockoff called Freedom Wars, the synopsis of which is impossibly stupid! It doesn’t even make any sense! Capcom has always stuck with Sony when it comes to Monster Hunter, but now they’ve suddenly gone and turned to Nintendo instead! It’s so retarded that I can’t decide whether to laugh or get pissed off!

A couple of days ago, I heard that a new Rhythm Paradise game was in development for the 3DS, and it made me sick as a parrot. I fucking love Rhythm Paradise. I played it on DeSmuME (a DS emulator) a while back after someone mentioned it to me, and it caused me to buy the awfully-named Beat The Beat: Rhythm Paradise on the Wii. Dunno why they didn’t call it Rhythm Heaven Fever like the US version. But who cares about that. It was so good. So goddamn good. It’s probably my favourite game released for the Wii. (No, I didn’t really like Super Mario Galaxy. 😛 )

Because of this news, I went through ShopTo’s stock of 3DS games, and tried compiling a list of games that I want. The total? ELEVEN:

Super Mario 3D Land
Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
Kid Icarus Uprising
Luigi’s Mansion 2
New Super Mario Bros 2
Donkey Kong Country Returns
Rhythm Paradise for 3DS
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Dual Destinies
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
Paper Mario: Sticker Star

But that’s not the whole story, oh no. You see, there are an additional six games that I’m not 100% sure on. And if that’s not enough, there’re two standard DS games that were so good that I’d want them on the 3DS to play on the go.

Mario Kart 7 (Maybe)
Super Smash Bros. (Maybe)
Kingdom Hearts 3DS (Maybe)
Kirby Triple Deluxe (Maybe)
Yoshi’s New Island 3DS (Maybe)
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (Maybe)
+
Space Invaders Extreme 2 (DS)
Rhythm Paradise (DS)

This list may even be missing some games, because ShopTo don’t stock some games, and some extra games I want may be available on the DS’s marketplace store thing, whatever it’s called. I dunno, I’ve only ever owned a 1st generation DS, and I’ve never accessed it. 😛
Naturally, this list completely exploded my brain. I can’t believe I made such a stupid mistake. It almost feels as if I was tricked. Sure, at launch, the 3DS looked pointless, and its game lineup didn’t really thrill me. I didn’t even realise it was a completely different console for a while. The Vita, on the other hand, broke my “Release Titles I Want” record by tempting me with five games, but I actually only own two of those five, because the other three turned out to be shit. In fact, I didn’t particularly like Wipeout 2048, which was one of the two I bought. But now, with the 3DS rocking SEVENTEEN titles I’m interested in, it makes the Vita look like a complete joke. Hell, it even makes the PS4 and Xbox One look stupid!

After looking at the games, I seriously began to consider getting a 3DS. I looked up the price of the console. Of course, since this is Nintendo, there’re about 74,000 different 3DSs to choose from (okay, four 😛 ), so with Wikipedia’s assistance, I decided the New 3DS XL was probably the best thing to go for. The price? £205, with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate or Zelda Cheap Re-release Part 7. This was… a bit steeper than I expected, considering its low power and the fact an Xbox One with two games was only £80 more. Of course, those two games were just junky AssAssins Peed games, so… 😛 Anyway, I ended up making a mental note of the price and went to bed.

On Friday evening after work, almost as if someone had been spying on me, a promotion landed in my inbox from ShopTo. £10 OFF 10! it exclaimed. It turned out to be a thing where if you bought any of the ten selected items, you’d get a £10 store credit for each item. Guess what one of the items was? A New 3DS XL. Guess what three of the other items were? 3DS games on the wishlist!

ARRRRRRRRRRRGH!!

I’m this close to giving in and buying it, but I shouldn’t. I really shouldn’t. Why? Well… I don’t know. There’s no real reason apart from the price, but that isn’t even a valid reason. It’s not that expensive when you consider the offer, it’s £240 for the console, a charger (because apparently one isn’t included, *shrug*) and three games, and it’s not like I can’t afford it. (Big shout out to my dislike of alcohol and because the concept of “going out to a pub for fun” makes my brain throw a “does not compute” error. 😛 ) This is probably the reason why I’m writing this entry; I’m attempting to convince myself to get it. 😛

Well, the mulling continues, I suppose. 😛 If anyone out there wants to push me one way or the other, or shoot down any of those games in the list, that’d be swell, so feel free. 😉 For now, though, g’niiiiight! 🙂

UPDATE!!

So, I made a choice. I decided to get one… FROM AUSTRALIA. Bonza!

“Eh, wot?! Why?”

Well, it came with a free kangaroo. Heh. 😛 Naw, I kinda lucked out after… un… lucking out.

See, that promotion at ShopTo was retarded and wasn’t explained clearly enough. It was supposed to expire on the 31st of March. At least, that’s what the terms and conditions in the e-mail appeared to state. However, the reality? The promotion was only on for the weekend. Yyyyyep. I found out when I ordered something and didn’t recieve the credit after quite some time, then re-read the e-mail verrrrrry carefully. The “weekend only” part was only ever mentioned in the friggin’ subject line. I believe the “expiry date March 31st 2015” was relating to the £10 store credit you recieve, not the promotion. Dumbasses. I would’ve cancelled it, but they pack your order far too quickly, so it’s basically impossible to cancel. That, and they take payment immediately without any confirmation. If GAME didn’t suck so much nowadays, I wouldn’t ever use ShopTo again after this.

Y’see, my plan was to order on Sunday, but they have a policy where your first two orders must be delivered to your billing address. Unfortunately, I hadn’t gotten around to changing my billing address, so if I did order, it’d get sent to a place about 150 miles away. 😛 I went about changing my address that afternoon, but there was another problem. Since I live alone and I’m at work from 10 till 6 every weekday, I wanted to get the stuff delivered to my work address. It’s no biggie if the postie attempts to deliver my games to my home address when I’m not there, because there’s a letterbox and my neighbours aren’t douchey. Even if he doesn’t post them through there, picking them up from the post office is easy. However, the console is shipped via courier and requires a signature, and because their depots aren’t easily accessible from where I live, it gets a liiiiittle tricky if they keep turning up when I’m out, which will pretty much always happen. My plan was to order two games in two separate orders, wait for delivery, then change my address and order the console while using the promo credit from the other two games. Simple, but… my bank takes 24 hours to update the address on my account. Hell, it’s been more than that and it still hasn’t updated. The only way I’ve managed to do this is by removing my card from PayPal, leaving only my bank account linked, and setting my new address to my primary address. Then I was able to use PayPal to order and get it delivered to the correct address. Despite the delays and fudging the rules a bit, everything would’ve been perfect if the promotion had just lasted as long as I thought it did.

So yeah. I ended up screwing around changing my bank address, mutilating my PayPal account and waiting 24 hours just to order a game and not receive credit I thought I was gonna receive. Then I couldn’t cancel and would have to return the game at my cost. Fantastic. Just my fucking luck. I felt like I got scammed.

Some time afterwards, though, my luck kinda evened out. After a random search to see if I could get the console for at least a little less and soften the loss a bit, I came across the same console on PlayAsia. The base cost was already low, but it actually had an additional discount, knocking the price down to below £130.

Below £130. *ring ring ring ding whooop whoooop alarm bells*, that’s too good to be true, what’s the catch? Come on, show me the hacker group.” Well, actually, the only catch is that it’s an Australian n3DSXL, and the shipping cost is high-ish. About £14 for basic 3-5 day shipping. But in total, that’s still about £40 below the cost of a European model. And since the Australian model is region-locked to PAL, the same as Europe, it’s pretty much the same thing. What gives?

After a lot of research on the differences between the European and Australian model, I came to the following conclusion: one has a different set of letters to identify it. That’s it. You can set the region to UK, you can sign into the eShop with a UK account, you can play PAL games, it communicates with other 3DSs normally. Even the screens are the right way up. There is no difference at all other than the device ID.

I decided to go for it. Even though pretty much everyone says it’s absolutely fine and it’s identical in functionality, it still feels like a huge risk. If it is fine, though, it’s actually going to be cheaper than the ShopTo promotion I just missed out on. Well… if I buy the same items I was going to from ShopTo, only just. I’m about £3 and a free case better off. 😛 I can’t complain if all goes well, though. It’s been a really lucky save. If I hadn’t found PlayAsia’s offer, I would’ve abandoned the 3DS and waited until there was another offer. 😛

Anyway, I’ll letcha know how it goes, and I’ll talk about the games I got and if they sucked and if this was a big mistake or not. Hopefully everything’ll be alright! 🙂