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 July - September 2013 Quarterly Review: Admintendo 3 (The Prisoner of Azkabanhammer)

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PostJuly - September 2013 Quarterly Review: Admintendo 3 (The Prisoner of Azkabanhammer)

(Balladeer: I've got my tea and biscuits all set, so I'm ready when you are!

Stu_the_great: I've just walked into the living room with a banana and a glass of milk, so I am too! Shall we get right on it?

Balladeer: Yup!  I believe you're starting this time. Smile

Stu_the_great: I believe I am! Let's gooooooooooo:)

-----------------------------------------------------

Stu_the_great: Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to the third ever Admintendo! The Skypecast where nobody knows the meaning of the word 'Schedule'. I'm your host, Stu_the_great, the Bald Overlord, and with me is...

Balladeer: Balladeer, the Ballad Overlord.

…no, that wasn't very good. Oh well. Hello world!

Stu_the_great: Oof!

So, can you believe another quarter has been and gone? I sure can't! Where does the time go? Balladeer, what's been your favourite thread or event on GNamer over the last three months?

Balladeer: Ooh, tough one.  I mean, getting it down to two is easy, because I love me some voting threads, but we've got two fully complete voting threads on our hands, and I wouldn't want to have to pick between them.  Jay's DS thread or Phillips' Mario thread?  I don't know.  I loved them both!

What about you, Stu?  Can you give a less fence-sitty answer?

Stu_the_great: I can't sit on the fence with this one, as I've loved all the voting threads thus far, and with Mas' console vote just kicking off, it looks like we'll be discussing favourites and not-so-favourites over the next quarter, too. I must give an honourable mention to Phillips' 'Games Everyone Likes' thread, though. The good-natured bickering made me titter.

Balladeer: Should that be, "I have to sit on the fence"?  Because that answer's even less decisive than mine!  Razz

Stu_the_great: I voted for everything, because I genuinely liked them all. Very Happy

Balladeer: Fair enough!  

As you say, we've got some more voting threads coming up that I'm also looking forward to.  Masofdas' console thread is underway, ZeroJones has made noises about doing a Wii U first birthday thread (looking at its fine and expansive software line-up, no doubt…), and then there's the traditional NGamer/GNamer "Best of 2013 Thread".  I've heard a rumour (started by me) that you might consider doing that last one this year, Stu: thoughts?

Stu_the_great: Everyone's put an absolutely sterling effort into the forum this year, so to have one final voting thread for 2013 where we celebrate the best of GNamer's first official year would hopefully be the icing on the cake. If it's not treading on Phillips' considerably capable toes (who's traditionally lead the NGamer vote), I'd be more than happy to do it.

Balladeer: Up to Phillips, I guess!  Although Andyman did 2011's, and JayMoyles did the very first one, so there is some precedent…  But I'm treading on the toes of our traditional last section, "what are you looking forward to in Q4", so I'll shut my virtual mouth here and let you get on with your schedule!

Stu_the_great: Apologies to Andy and Jay, there! My memory is genuinely atrocious. Moving on...

It's been a stunning year for 3DS thus far, and it really has been the Year of Luigi, but also the year that 3DS took off like a rocket. What have been your 3DS picks of the last quarter, Balla? And what do you make of your shiny new 3DS XL? I'm not restricting this to games strictly released since the last Admintendo, it can purely be the ones you've played the most during that time.

Balladeer: Ha!  Well, I'm certainly grateful to that last sentence, for reasons that are probably obvious to everyone.  But I'll get onto that in a moment.

So yes, I had my previous 3DS stolen, and all the saved game data on it.  In particular, I lost all my StreetPass data, including Puzzle, Quest and the other four.  The new XL is shiny and nicely coloured (red and black, don'tcha know), but I miss the all black decor and additional portability of the original 3DS.  All told, I think I may have made a mistake there. Sad Oh well: it plays the same games.

Stu_the_great: I know how divisive the XL felt when I first picked it up, so I can understand your opinion entirely. It took me a good few months to grow to love the system, but now I can firmly say that there's no way back. What have been your gaming picks, then? I'll list mine in turn, and one of them I genuinely didn't expect.

Balladeer: Maybe things'll improve, then.  Who knows.

Anyway, before the loss of my 3DS, I was plugging away at the StreetPass games, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros.  Out of that lot, AC:NL is the game I have the least desire to go back to.  Not too long after its release, it began to feel like a daily grind: you had to go out, sort the flowers, pluck the weeds, talk to the less obnoxious townsfolk (who still only had eight personalities between them), then go to the island because that's by far the quickest way of earning money…

I'm not going to say that I wasn't proud of Styx, because I was.  The Moai statue over on the left was a highlight of the town, impressive museum collection aside.  But now that I've lost that progress, I have no desire to make it up again.

Then there're the StreetPass games.  I'll ignore Garden because it is dull and rubbish, no matter what Oldschool may say, and Mr. Mendel still unnerves me a bit.  Truth be told, I feel that Battle felt the most appropriate for a StreetPass title: it only took a couple of seconds to collect your armies and choose whether to fight or not.  Mansion was probably my favourite, although it took a while to deal with when surrounded by other people with 3DSes (e.g. HyperJapan - if you're in London next year, do come along.  It was great fun); likewise for Squad, but that was just too tough for me.

So, I'll probably pick up Battle and Mansion again only, when/if I get around to that.

And finally, Dream Team (Bros.  Honestly, that "Bros." serves no purpose, unless there's a plot twist at the end where it's revealed that they aren't siblings after all).  I was really keen on this on my first playthrough: it felt like a proper Mario RPG again, after Bowser and Time failed to deliver on that front.  The first time I got to the big city and was greeted with a fetch quest, I was ecstatic!  Which is quite sad really.

But second time around, I can't be quite so forgiving.  It's so slow, so handholding, and the 2D sections are a misjudgement.  The Luiginary Works only halt the pace further, and the puzzles they create are exercises in patience rather than brainpower.  I probably will finish it, but not for a while.

Which makes my portable games of the quarter… obvious to probably everyone.  And because Stu's going off to shift his car, I will talk about them now.  They are, quite simply, every Phoenix Wright game and spin-off released in the UK to date.

I have the DS Voting Thread to thank for these, actually: after the original came seventh in the overall vote, I finally picked the original trilogy up on iPhone.  Shu Takumi's writing is simply brilliant.  The characters are great, especially Mr. Grumpyfrills.  The games are slow, but nowhere near as slow as Dream Team, for example.  I advise everyone to buy them!

That's me done - sorry for the multitude of words.  Stu, your turn, for any of our readers who I haven't bored into oblivion. Embarrassed

Stu_the_great: I'm back!

Well, I've been far more boring than that this last quarter. Literally my entire gaming time has been split between all the StreetPass games, Animal Crossing and Mega Man 2.

Animal Crossing bored me very quickly at first, but absence seemed to make the heart grow fonder, and after a month away, I've been chipping away at it in tiny segments on a daily basis ever since, and I see no sign of that slowing down.

The StreetPass games were quite the surprise. The only real letdown for me is StreetPass Squad, which is a decent little game in its own right, but it's just so bloody longwinded, and not suitable for a StreetPass game at all in my opinion.

Moving on, the final and biggest surprise on my list: Mega Man 2.

I've never played a Mega Man game at all, and for some reason I picked this game up on a whim. With the accessibility of the save slot and other 3DS VC features, I was able to learn a tough game extremely quickly and soon become rather good at it. It's become my eighth most-played game on my Activity Log, and it marks the first time I've really got into a VC game that I've never played before. How's that for boring everyone?

Moving on, what 3DS game are you most looking forward to, Balla?

Balladeer: Oooh, you bastard.  You couldn't ask an easy question, could you? Razz

Erm.  Well, there are two possibilities.  There's the obvious one, which would be Pokémon X/Y.  I've restricted myself from doing my usual thing and knowing everything about the game before it's released, with the result that I am super-excited for it, as opposed to moaning about the new monster designs like some. Wink

The second one should be obvious from what I've written above.  Again, I know very little about Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies, but that's more because there's not much one can know about a Phoenix Wright game without being spoiled.  It looks lovely though, and I'm confident that the team can do a good job in Takumi's absence.  I imagine they have the same translators on board.

And then there's A Link Between Worlds, the item-buying free-roaming aspect of which makes me feel apprehensive; and Bravely Default, which'll no doubt be a traditional old school-FF style romp, but for which I am turning the voices right down.  Looking forward to both of those, but they've got nothing on lawyers or monsters.

What about yourself, Stu?  I think I remember you saying you weren't quite as excited for Pokémon as some (and dropping a minor spoiler at the same time DAMN YOU!).

Stu_the_great: Was that a spoiler? Apologies for that, and you might want to cover your ears for this next bit. I might have more respect/enthusiasm for this Poké-Installment if it didn't have a keyring Pokémon in it. AFREAKIN'KEYRINGPOKÉMON! (goes on killing spree)

Balladeer: STUUUUUUUUUUU! Hissy fit

Stu_the_great: *ahem* Yes, it's true. I'm holding out on this version at least for a little while, but only because I'm way more excited about Sonic: Lost World in both its guises. I haven't been this hyped for a Sonic game since Sonic Adventure, and it's looking like a real gem, at least on Wii U. The 3DS version hasn't had nearly as much coverage, but I'm hoping that it'll be just as solid as recent handheld Sonics, which have all been top-notch.

Other than that, I've got my eyes on PW, Zelda and Bravely Default, and in the background the handheld version of Skylanders, but that's reliant on good reviews. Anything else to add, good sir?

Balladeer: Not about the 3DS, nope!  (Apart from really, REALLY buy the Phoenix Wright games if you haven't.  No game since Brawl has had me so gripped.)  

Next topic, then?  (And yes, of course we're running over time by this point.  Who do you think we are? Wink)

Stu_the_great: Before we move on, I've loved the PW games since the series first hit DS, so I'm hoping that comment was aimed at the readers (which I suspect it was). Razz

Balladeer: Yep!

Stu_the_great: Moving on:

What's been your Wii U pick(s) of late?

Balladeer: Oh.  That thing, huh? Meh

Well, I do have some, unlike the last Admintendo we did.  So what have I played on it this last quarter?  That would be Earthbound, The Wonderful 101, Rayman Legends and that one Wario minigame game that had exactly one good thing about it: the Miiverse game that only Buskalilly and I appreciate.  Where shall I start, therefore?

Let's go with 101, as it was the one Wii U game I was really looking forward to in June.  A crazy, very Japanese action game which made full use of the Wii U's potential.  No reason for it not to be one of my favourite games of the year.  None at all.

Er.

Well the characters didn't help.  By the time I quit, I'd met the boring hero, the smug-as-you-like showboater, and the national stereotype.  I hadn't even hit the sexist one yet, and they already annoyed me.  There were a few funny moments in cut-scenes, but mostly, I couldn't stand the characters I was given.  And there were other problems, like the camera being the most unhelpful camera since the original Galaxy.  The fighting itself wasn't too bad, but I had a tendency to get sniped repeatedly by off-screen enemies.

But the main problem was simply that the missions were too long for too little reward.  When I finished the second one, dying twice, I thought, "Phew."  I shouldn't be thinking, "Phew."  I should be thinking, "Yay!"  But I wasn't, so I took the disc out and haven't put it back in since.

I am absolutely gutted by this.  It was a very stylish game, and it certainly couldn't have been done on any other console.  But whether any other console would miss it is another story altogether.  Sad

I did play through quite a bit of Earthbound, but I didn't find it as funny as everyone had said I would, and quite a few things about the game felt old and clunky, which is unavoidable.  I did like the sheer oddness, though.  It's a game I would like to finish, but feel no pressing need to carry on with.

Which brings me to Legends, which surprised me by actually being good.  I hated Origins, but Legends cleans up the aesthetics, brings in a better soundtrack, and improves on the level design.  It's not perfect, but it's a damn sight better than its predecessor, and currently my second favourite game on the console behind NSMBU.  

Which brings me to the end of my Wii U-sage.  How about your good self, Mr. The_great?

Stu_the_great: I don't have masses to report with regards to Wii U again this quarter. Of all the games I've played: Game & Wario, Rayman, Bit.Trip Runner 2 and Pikmin, I've finished precisely one of those games (Game & Wario).

I absolutely love what I've played of Rayman so far, but as of yet I haven't felt any inclination to actually dedicate time to any of the remaining games. I haven't even started TW101! I blame my 3DS for this, as always, as it's so much easier for me to pop it down and pick it up for short spells, and even to do so at work.

I will feel the need to finish Rayman in the near future, as I loved Origins and had exactly the same play cycle with that game, finishing it well over a year after it was released.

So with nothing interesting or insightful for me to say here, I move onto the upcoming Wii U games situation. Something I'm much more optimistic about, as the nights are drawing in and there are some excellent-looking games on the way. What are you most excited for, Balla?

Balladeer: If we're limiting ourselves to Q4, there still isn't much for me.  Super Mario 3D World is the big one: after its recent Nintendo Direct trailer, my interest level skyrocketed.  I can still see a lot of the problems, such as the overly large worlds coupled with a time limit (and BLOODY BOOM BOOM AAAAAAAKUSBDAKJHSGAKJ), but it looks like it's as packed with innovation as the Galaxies were and I'm looking forward to passing judgement on it this Christmas.

Other than that, I may pick up Sonic: Lost World (may, mark you), depending on how it reviews.  Then there are a handful of eShop titles - Scram Kitty, Tengami and Shovel Knight have all caught my eye to varying degrees, so I'll see how they're received.

I can't talk about Q4's Wii U release schedule without mentioning the delay of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.  While it wasn't sending me giddy with joy, I was annoyed for two reasons: (a) with its icy setting, it's the perfect Christmas game for us in the northern hemisphere (sorry Shanks, OS, Athrun); and (b) with so few obvious changes from its predecessor, it doesn't seem to me like it should take terribly long to make.  So yes, peeved by that one. Evil or Very Mad

Anything on the Stu-dar for the Wii U?

Stu_the_great: Anyone who's managed to stay awake during my segments of this Admintendo will probably realise that I'm most excited for Sonic: Lost World at this point, and I'm glad to hear that something about it has piqued your interest, Balla. Sonic has gotten a bit of a bad rep over recent for years (for reasons I fully understand), but it looks like those red sneakers have turned a corner, and this latest outing looks to continue the excellent work done in the Rush games and Generations/Colours, by (hopefully) delivering us another (almost) back-to-basics approach.

Other than that, the new Mario 3D World trailer last week converted my reaction from "D'oh!" to "Woo-hoo!", though I'm still bugged by how this game will play with one player as opposed to a gaggle of four, and the time limit is sure to affect the ability to explore without umpteen re-runs of each course (if it's actually worth doing so).

And lastly, though it's already out, I'd like to see how well Wind Waker has held up this last nine years. It's probably Nintendo's most unnecessary update of all-time, but the original game still looks a treat today, and if it serves a double whammy of selling a few more Wii Us and getting the Wind Waker experience to a new generation of gamers, I'm all for it.

Any comments before we move onto our final segment?

Balladeer: None about the Wii U.  I think that when we do our prospective feature next time around, which may well cover all of 2014, we'll have much more to say.

Stu_the_great: Excellent! So, our last discussion today relates to Wii U again, but in how it's set to be joined by the remaining two next-gen consoles in the run-up to Christmas. Has Nintendo squandered its lead? How will the additional competition affect Wii U? Will it make much difference at all? What are your thoughts about the imminent, expected change in dynamic?

Balladeer: Oh Gooooooooood.  ("God", not "good".)

I think I said last time…  Actually, let me fish out the quote.

Stu_the_great: Go ahead!

Balladeer: "I'd previously said that unless Nintendo brought the big guns out for the remainder of the year, then up against the Black Boxes o' Power © I didn't think much of Ninty's chances in the console race...

"And, to be frank, they're not bringing the big guns this year.  They're bringing them next year."

And:

"…frankly Nintendo's greatest hope pre-Christmas seems to be the even-then-slightly-niche Pikmin 3."

The second comment is no longer correct.  As mentioned above, SM3DW has emerged as a credible killer app. for the Christmas period.  I believe Mr. Hywool, a.k.a. Axis1500, mentioned an anecdote in which this game alone convinced a friend to pick up the console (or seriously consider it) where previous Wii U offerings had failed.  Great!

But not great enough.  Even if the PS4 has drummed up the majority of the gamer support, by letting Microsoft make all the stupid decisions, I still expect the One to sell great guns on brand alone.  The Wii U hasn't, I know, but that doesn't mean the One won't.

Nintendo has definitely squandered its lead.  Games fell in their droves out of the launch window, and we should have started the second wave by now.  Even that is starting to get pushed back (see DKC:TF).  The 3DS did the same and has now come out with flying colours, but it doesn't have any serious competition.  (Sorry Vita owners.)

(This is the third long ranty section of mine in this Admintendo, for which I apologise.  Please have a picture of a ferret yawning at this juncture, by way of apology.)

Spoiler:
 

The Wii U may be aiming for a slightly different group of people than the Black Boxes o' Power, but they're all games consoles and they're all reasonably expensive, especially if you're investing in software.  And Nintendo is trying to get the "core" (urgh, sorry) on board, as well as the "casuals".  I just can't see the "casuals" buying such an expensive console when evidence suggests that they barely played its cheaper predecessor, is all.

I know that Phillips strongly disagrees, but I think that the Wii U has a tough time ahead of it.  Especially this Christmas: it might pick up some pace again next year, especially if Nintendo bother marketing the damn thing.  

I'm not a Nintendo doomsayer.  They're stupid.  But I can see another GameCube on the horizon.  (Although I really liked the GameCube.  It's in my top three consoles, although currently, only Masofdas knows exactly where in there it ranks…)

Come on, Stu, give us a cheerier viewpoint to round things off! Grin

Stu_the_great: All your points have very valid merit, though I do indeed have a cheerier outlook on things at this moment in time.

Yes, I believe Nintendo has squandered its lead, but I think it was in a very awkward position to begin with. Imagine if the Wii was still its lead console in 2013? It had pretty much sputtered and died on the games front last Christmas, so Nintendo needed to kick things off again, and it had at least got a console ready. I say a console, as I still argue that Nintendo itself has got to justify the GamePad.

Of the demos I've played, I can honestly say that I only believe The Wonderful 101 and maybe Rayman Legends to have had a real stab at the GamePad up to now, but I digress...

Balladeer: Agreed with you there.  Bring on Four Swords Adventures U...

Stu_the_great: All the 'diehard' Nintendo fans, or a great deal of them, were intending to pick up a Wii U on launch or thereafter, though I imagine that some had been stung by the 3DS price drop. Most of the 'core' fans pick up their Ninty consoles on a promise, I just don't think after the 3DS debacle they expected to wait so long again.

Anyone else who knows that Xbox One and PS4 is coming would only likely consider Wii U as a second console, and I doubt that a lot of Other Formats gamers would be swayed at all without an absolutely stellar third-party output, which arguably Nintendo hasn't had on a home console since the SNES and not on a handheld since DS.

So, Nintendo has at least sold some units thus far to the core fans, and things are slowly improving. I can't honestly see how attention will be shifted away from anyone who wasn't thinking about picking a Wii U up around Christmas is going to be, as they've probably already made their decision.

As far as buying for others goes, I'd say that Wii U is instantly the most attractive console to a parent this year, as it's going to be much cheaper than the competition and it's going to sport a decent(ish) catalogue of games by then, plus a shiny new Mario game to boot. Nintendo just needs to do its marketing, dammit!

Have I rambled on enough now?

Balladeer: Probably! Laughing And I agree that I don't know how Nintendo would have gone about pulling people over to the Wii U that they haven't done bar marketing.  They've got a killer game coming out, as mentioned earlier, as well as the more casual-friendly Wii Fit/Party U.  I guess I just feel they ought to have more games by now.  Ho hum.

Anyway, is it "anything to say before we wrap up" time?  I think we've talked enough about what we're looking forward to in the future, both in games and on the forum (although I am looking forward to The Jolly Ridiculous GNamer Tabletop Internet Text-Adventure RPG, which will either be great or a disaster).

Stu_the_great: I agree! I think my brain has squeezed all the urgent word-juice out for the time being. If there's nowt extra to add, we can proceed with the signing out! (And I must look into your tabletop RPG thread).

Balladeer: Signing out it is, then!

…Although that said...

…we should probably mention that we're going to be alternating Admintendos like this from now on - the ones at half-year and year end (in finance speak Sick) will be four-person, and Stu & I will take the quarters.

So if you want to take part in the Q4 edition, let us know!  Would be useful to have people who can talk about GTAV a bit, not to mention anyone who might have picked up or be seriously considering one or both of the Black Boxes o' Power at that point; but anyone who doesn't mind sitting at a computer for more than double the advertised time would be appreciated! Grin

Stu_the_great: Yes, do let us know in the comments section! I'm aware that the Balla-and-Me Admintendos are unashamedly Nintendo-heavy, which makes for a lot of biased reading, so it would be good to have some of you guys on board again next time. Just don't book anything in for the rest of the day. Laughing

Balladeer: What is the plural of "Admintendo"?  "Admintendoes"?  Like "potatoes"?

Stu_the_great: So with that, it's been my immense pleasure to have been the host again for this quarter's Admintendo, and I hope you all enjoy reading about it as much as we have waffling on for two hours (almost!). And I'd go for 'Admintendos', personally. Is dominos the plural of domino?

Balladeer: Dominoes, according to 'Pedia.

Stu_the_great: Admintendoes what NGamer doesn't.

Balladeer: YES.

All right, see you again early in the New Year!  Cheerio! Wave

Stu_the_great: Goodbye, all! *waves*
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July - September 2013 Quarterly Review: Admintendo 3 (The Prisoner of Azkabanhammer) :: Comments

Aye, as Jas said, they're nothing more than buzz words to allow marketers to promote their product as fresher. 360, PS3, Wii - it's all old tech now, and hence PS4, Xbox One, Wii U are all current generation consoles.
Well if GTAV get's announced for PS4 and the press release says it's now on next gen that's what I will be putting in the news thread not the GTAV is now on current gen as that sounds stupid.

Also last time when we went from xbox / ps2 to 360 / ps3 people were calling them next gen for month's after launch even years in the 360 case.

And both the Xbone & PS4 are still in the launch window.
masofdas wrote:
Well if GTAV get's announced for PS4 and the press release says it's now on next gen that's what I will be putting in the news thread not the GTAV is now on current gen as that sounds stupid.

Why not just say "GTA V is going to be released on PS4" as opposed to fannying around with buzzwords like next gen? The whole fascination the games industry has with "next-gen" as a label really irks me.
Axis1500 wrote:
One good thing now, with all the consoles out, hopefully the next gen debate will cease.

At least you tried, Axis.
 

July - September 2013 Quarterly Review: Admintendo 3 (The Prisoner of Azkabanhammer)

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