Tales from the Miiverse – MrP.Ringle


Once you pop…

There’s someone posting as MrP.Ringle on Miiverse. Here my three favorite posts:

* “Favorite 80’s show? CHiPs… For obvious reasons” on the Netflix community

* “A Pringle Haiku: POP, the tubes open – Portals to snack wonderland – This was a triumph.” on the Nintendo Land community

* “You can use a Pringles tube to breath [sic] underwater like a ninja. Fact.” on the Ninja Gaiden community

The only game this character owns is ZombiU, and they’ve used the YouTube channel, but other than that, they’re just going around posting Pringles related trivia in all the different communities. They have posts from Scribblenauts to Wheel of Fortune.

Official Pringles social media advertising? Or just a passionate (and little bit nutso) fan? If it’s official, is this the first company using Miiverse as an ad campaign? Whoever it is, I find myself wanting Pringles. Sour Cream and Onion, please.

Wii U Miiverse: Playing with Power Again


For someone as introverted as I am, the somewhat limited community experience of the Miiverse is perfect. I stayed away from Xbox Live, because the last thing I want to hear is some pre-pubescent twit call everyone “faggot” and make racial slurs.

Plus, I’m looking forward to searching an organic community for help if I get stuck on a game instead of looking up a YouTube video or going to GameFAQs. I really think what Nintendo is trying to do with Miiverse is get back to the classic days of gaming, when people didn’t have hint guides and playthroughs; they had each other.

Last week I picked up the final issue of Nintendo Power. Boy, was that a trip. Included with the last issue is a small poster featured every (almost?) cover of Nintendo Power over the last 14 years. I remember my first one: Volume 26 with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves for NES on it.

Never played the game; never forgot the magazine.

Never played the game; never forgot the magazine.

Later, my mom would get me an Maniac Mansion issue from a K-B Toys (another relic of the past) that never threw out its old periodicals, but this was the first one that came in the mail. It seemed like months and months would pass between issues, instead of just four short weeks, as I eagerly awaited all the new game previews and–more than anything–the monthly Super Mario and Legend of Zelda comics. Man, I loved those, and probably read and re-read the Super Mario graphic novel compilation that came out until it fell apart. I wish I still had that thing…

I’m off track as usual. My point: the Miiverse is the coolest part of Nintendo Power finally brought into the Internet age–the community. Sure there’s still the occasional douche-tard drawing an ugly penis (why are all graffitti penises so ugly? Do the people who draw them also have deformed members?), but they get routed out fairly quickly. The majority of people in Miiverse seem to really want to be there. And that adds a lot of joy to the experience.

NintendoLand: The Next-Gen Plinko Simulator We’ve All Been Waiting For


Okay, I kid. I honestly *love* Nintendo Land a lot more than I expected to, and have become quite hooked on it. Thanks to the Wii U’s Daily Log feature, I can see just how addicted I’ve become–six hours today!

Anyway, initial impressions were a lot more stunning than I expected, too. For one thing, the game has a very strong Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts vibe, at least visually. The hi-def looks incredible. Everything in the game is pieced together out of natural materials–fabrics, thread, buttons, iron, steel. Every bit of classic Nintendo minutiae, from rupees to Toad’s hat, has been given a handmade Etsy-style makeover. Plus, this:

Sister and brother from another mother...board?

Sister and brother from another mother…board?

Unlike Nuts & Bolts, Nintendo Land is actually fun. I can see it getting old sooner rather than later, but for now it’s a delightful distraction. All the nostalgia-based rewards add incentive. Honestly, Nintendo nostalgia is wearing thin, what with seven or eight(teen) new Mario-related titles every year, but Nintendo Land’s handmade feel adds to their originality.

I don’t think screenshots or video can do Nintendo Land and the Miiverse experience justice. I was expecting to have fun, but I wasn’t expecting the small value seeing other people’s comments add to the game. Most of them are stupid, but there are occasionally fun, quirky posts, and some incredible black-and-white artwork not seen since the days of PictoChat. Remember that? Who knew that Miis + PictoChat would equal something really cool?

It’s late. I’ve wasted 1/4 of my day riding around in a wooden Yoshi cart. More on Miiverse tomorrow.


Snapshot Storytelling


I’m almost done with Super Mario 3D Land, and will have my complete thoughts on it up soon. (Spoiler alert: I like it!)

The game is a little 3D love letter to Super Mario Bros. 3. Nintendo’s been milking SMB3 nostalgia for a while now, with New super Mario Bros. and New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but it doesn’t feel stale yet. Perhaps because the mechanics behind SMB3 were so solid.

Something I really appreciate about SM3DL is the unobtrusive way it tells its story. Raise your hand if you’re playing a Mario game for the story. *waits* Right, didn’t think so.
I don’t think there’s any text whatsoever. The opening cinema sets up the plot–something about a tree covered in Raccoon leaves, which transforms Bowser and all his cronies into Raccoon-tail-wielding hybrids. Oh, and Peach is kidnapped too, natch. Then, in between each world, Mario catches a little flying envelope from Princess Peach, showing what’s going on at Bowser’s castle.

Inside each envelope is a photograph. The illustrations are nice, and harken back to older Mario art, except with the updated character designs. Thankfully, we never have to see Peach look like this again:

The 3D effects make the photos pop. But they also show something interesting: Princess Peach isn’t content to be a damsel in distress this time. She sulks around Bowser’s Castle for a bit, but around World 4, she plots her escape. She even manages to clobber a tower of Goombas with her parasol. And all of this without crying or tapping into her magical PMS powers. This is a Mario game, so of course she gets recaptured and put in a cage, but at least it’s a stylish one.

I probably wouldn’t have noticed or cared if I hadn’t recently suffered through Skyward Sword. The bland storytelling of that game was made almost insufferable by the copious amounts of repetitive text you have to scroll through. A lot of times I’m playing a game to, well, play a game. I read a lot of fiction, and many video game stories aren’t that great to begin with. It’s even worse when they’re not well incorporated into gameplay.

My favorite video game story of all time is Grim Fandango. What’s yours?