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! 😉