Outright Sexiness.

April 12, 2009

So I turned in my DS Lite and got a pretty new black Nintendo DSi. Then I put a skin on it which I ordered from the internet. The result: Outright sexiness. I also dyed my hair black, though that was unrelated to the purchasing of the DSi. Here is a picture of all three: the DSi, the skin, and my awesome hair:

SO SEXY

The picture was taken with one of the DSi’s two cameras. It has a camera on the outside and another on the inside below the top screen. The camera quality is relatively decent, comparable to the iPhone. Also like the iPhone, the DSi has a web browser. It’s slow and requires an unlocked wireless network, but it is a browser, and it’s convenient to use thanks to the touchscreen. The DSi also has a sound recorder and editor and downloadable content. It’s thinner and has a larger screen than its predecessor. My only complaints when compared to the Nintendo DS Lite are the power and volume buttons. The power button is somewhat inconveniently placed, and I prefer the wheel sound control rather than buttons. Overall, though, a nice upgrade and I feel sort of awesome for owning it.

Unrelated: I’ve been noticing a lot of this lately, so I’m going to say something. APOSTROPHES DO NOT GO ON PLURAL NOUNS.

That will be all.

-Caitlin

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Professor Layton

Since it seems like Professor Layton and the Curious Village was one of the more popular DS games of 2008, and I happened to get a copy of it for Christmas, I thought I’d give it a review.

In short, it’s pretty okay.

It’s exactly what it’s advertised as: A lot of brainteaser-style games and a strange rectangular-headed British chap with a cool hat. The heroes of the game, Professor Layton and his young assistant, Luke, arrive in the little village of St. Mystere to solve a mystery (what else) involving the hidden fortune of an eccentric, deceased baron. (Also, there’s a murder mystery on the side – but it’s totally not as important as money.) The people of St. Mystere are very fond of brainteasers, and will only offer help – or let you pass, in some cases – if you solve their riddles.

On a mostly off-topic note, that’s something that always bugged me about games like this. In St. Mystere, people will only let you pass if you solve their riddles. Couldn’t you just be like, “Um, I’m working on something really important and I don’t have time, sorry” and then run by? What are they going to do, tackle you to the ground and tie you up until you answer their question? It’s like in Pokemon, when trainers are all “lol i saw u, we have 2 fite RITE NOW” and then whip out their Caterpies or Bellsprouts or whatever without even waiting to see if you’re ready. The fishermen are the worst. You just know they have a team of six level 15 Magikarp, and you’re like, “Oh, come on. You have NO CHANCE. I’m the Pokemon League Champion, for crying out loud. Or at least I was the last time I checked, but my rival keeps taking that title back without even challenging me for it… Anyway, maybe you saw me fly into town on the back of a massive dragon? Yeah, that was me. And you have six level 15 Magikarp. It’s not even worth the PP to kill them. (KO them, whatever.) And when you’re done wasting my time, you’re going to give me a lousy 135 Poke-dollars or whatever they are, which isn’t even half the price of a Pokeball, much less a Great or Ultra ball, and I HATE YOU SO MUCH.” And the fisherman just stands there with a dumb look on his face and goes “U FITE MY MAGIKARP NAO K LOL”

Anyway, back to the brainteasers… Some are quite simple, some less so. One forced me to run crying to the internet for help because I’m truly terrible at those horrid little slider puzzles. There are 135 brainteasers within the game, and new ones that have nothing to do with the story can be downloaded from the internet every week. The first time you connect to Nintendo WFC with this game, it will download and save all of the puzzles since the game’s release, so you don’t have to worry about missing any, which I think is sort of nice. Overall, it’s your basic intermediate-level brainteaser book, except it has some plot and a few cutscenes and costs about 20 dollars more.

My main gripes with this game are fairly minor, but still annoying enough to mention. Movement around the village requires two touch screen taps when it ought to require only one. There are some side mysteries – eight or ten, I think – that you pick up throughout the storyline, but you have no hand whatsoever in solving them because the game does it for you as you progress, which sort of makes me wonder if there was a point to including them at all. The village is very small, and there really aren’t a lot of people in it. Sometimes after you acquire a new objective they’ll have new puzzles, and sometimes they won’t, but there’s nothing to indicate if they do or not. This makes for a lot of unnecessary and repetitive talking to townsfolk, which is another thing I dislike. You earn “picarats” for solving puzzles, which is the currency of St. Mystere, but you can’t actually buy anything with them. As for our heroes, Professor Layton can be either a quirky sort of fellow or just completely annoying, depending on how you view very proper cartoon British gentlemen with cool hats. Luke is entirely useless except as the standard Captain Obvious character.

All that said, though, Professor Layton and the Curious Village is somewhat charming. The plot is decent and has a bit of a surprise twist, and the cutscenes are actually quite well done, with voices and everything. I’m not really sure if I’d recommend it to buy for yourself – because honestly, in terms of pure gameplay, it’s no more than a good brainteaser book – but it made for a nice gift and was worth the time to play. A good game to rent or buy used, possibly.

Also, I found this very funny. (Some other comics on that site might not be child-friendly, though.)

-Caitlin

IT'SA ME, MARIO

TL;DR version: If you have lots of friends or siblings who own a DS, this is a great game for one of you to own.

Wall(s) of Text version:

Since I have two siblings, both with a DS and eager for multiplayer competition, this was an easily worthwhile purchase. Mario Party DS features over 70 different minigames of all shapes and sizes: 4-player duels, 2v2, even some 3v1, which surprisingly seems to be fairly balanced. Only one game card is needed for up to 4 players, and unlike most games which allow multiplayer with only one card, Mario Party doesn’t limit the available content. (This is part of the reason why Nintendo is awesome.) Minigames must be unlocked before you can choose specifically to play them, but again unlike many games, it’s possible – preferable, even – to unlock them by playing in multiplayer “Party Mode,” a 4-person board game where the object is to collect the most stars. At the end of every round, a random minigame is selected to play, and that minigame then becomes unlocked. Other multiplayer activities include 2-player puzzle games, or simple minigame competitions: best out of five, or whatever settings you choose.

As for the minigames themselves, they’re quite fun in an extremely simplistic sort of way. Games may require you to fling leaves out of your way with your stylus (but watch out for the bees), or move in tandem with a partner to control a clothes hanger flying down a line. Hardcore gamers may be disappointed at the pretty much nonexistent learning curve, but for me and my siblings, it actually turns out to be an advantage. My sister, whose strengths are not in the least video game-related, is on even ground with myself and my brother, which makes playing together more fun for all involved. And even for gamers like yours truly, there’s something strangely satisfying about knowing that you’re the best at rapidly mashing the A button.

Mario Party DS does, of course, have a few cons. If you’re a friendless nerd who can only play singleplayer mode, it isn’t nearly as much fun. The CPU-controlled characters do have different difficulty settings, but they’re still only CPUs, and they won’t feel like losers after you destroy their sorry rears in a zucchini-slicing competition. Also, from what I’ve played, the game seems to strongly favor you over the CPUs whenever luck is involved – as it frequently is, since Mario Party is, after all, a board game. The character selection is mildly disappointing after becoming accustomed to SSB: Brawl, although that’s probably true of any game other than Brawl; Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, Wario, Waluigi, Yoshi, and Toad are available. Finally, as previously mentioned, the lack of a learning curve may be either a complete turn-off or a benefit, depending on the person.

To sum it up: Buy this (or get a friend/sibling to) if you have friends or siblings. If not… Well, sorry. Go make some friends.

-Caitlin

Still Alive

January 2, 2009

Happy New Year, everybody! ‘Grats on being still alive.

To celebrate this triumph, I’ve made a note. A musical note. It says, “Huge Success.” I’m quite satisfied.

(In non-nerd: Here’s me playing a fun song on the piano.)

-Caitlin