Club Nintendo offers free 2-disc soundtrack for registering both versions of SSB

Are you the type of gamer that will buy multiple copies of the same game on different platforms, much to the bemusement of your peers? Well if you maintain the habit with the upcoming Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS, you’ll at least get a reward this time.

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No details have been added yet to indicate a deadline for registration (especially since the Wii U version still doesn’t have a specific release date), but the website promises more information is soon to follow. For now, you can head over to the promotion site to listen to samples of the included music while you put both copies of the game on your holiday gift list.

Remember, kids: If your parents balk at buying the same game twice, just tell them you’ll be getting a third present from Santa Iwata, too!

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Don’t worry, I’m sure they’ll know what that means.

Obligatory Legal Crap

I am not an employee of Nintendo or in any way affiliated with Club Nintendo. If I was I probably could’ve gotten a better image of the CD than just taking a screenshot of the website.

Wizards and Warriors: The Turmoil of Geoffrey St. John

SO, anyone out there excited about the upcoming release of Lost Hedgehog Tales? Who am I kidding, of course you are! This blog turns up in LHT search results at least once or twice a week, and I doubt it’s due to Ken Penders gnashing his teeth. At this point, I think we’re all in a tizzy over the unofficial sort-of-a-book due to another teaser tweet last month, courtesy of Archie’s lead Sonic the Hedgehog writer, Ian Flynn

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Well, my friends, August is drawing to a close, which means we could see a release any day now! In light of the impending euphoria, I’ve decided to share some thoughts I’ve waxed upon with regard to a particular character. This isn’t the same as my comic page investigation; it’s merely the personal hunch I always had while reading the pre-reboot (preboot?) Sonic comics.

One character that has never failed to hold my attention under Flynn’s pen is Geoffrey St. John. After having abandoned the comics over a decade before, I got back into them purely because I was fascinated by the sudden developments surrounding this skunk and wanted to know more about where he was going. Once a particularly bland and frequently unlikable character, Geoffrey managed to gain a significant foothold in the preboot story with his unexpected alliance swap. Despite having spent the history of the comics as one of the kingdom’s highest-ranking soldiers, Geoffrey shocked everyone with the revelation that he had been training in wizardry all along — under none other than Ixis Naugus, one of the most powerful villains of the entire series.

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Had Geoffrey really abandoned his former allies in their darkest hour? Was he ever really an ally to begin with? For someone that had always been mercilessly anal retentive about procedure, justice, and fulfilling his duties, how could he pull the rug out from under so many people like this? Didn’t it go against everything he’d ever stood for?

Actually, none of those are the real question. Those queries can be answered by figuring out an even bigger mystery: What really happened to Hershey St. John?

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Dawn of the Rise of the Queen of the Planet of the Apes

(WARNING: Major spoilers ahead.)

WELL, in the midst of trying to start a new game design project, taking inventory of my collection, and barely avoiding an apocalyptic-level flood that Michigan hasn’t seen in 86 years, it’s only by the grace of Caesar that I’ve managed to go to the movies lately. Since the film’s release, I’ve now seen Dawn of the Planet of the Apes twice. The first time was purely out of excitement and zeal for a continuation of the story, and the second time… Okay, I admit the second was mostly to relive the first, but also to double-check for a detail I was convinced I had missed.

As it turns out, I didn’t miss anything; it just simply wasn’t there.

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO REASON WHY I SHOULD’VE HAD TO CHECK WIKIPEDIA…

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…TO FIND OUT THIS APE’S NAME.

(It’s Cornelia, by the way.)

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Yoda’s Species Follow-Up

A couple weeks ago when I posted my personal head canon regarding Yoda’s species, I got a couple of interesting comments in response. I’ve been mulling them over since I read them, and as I think they bring up some good ideas. Instead of just letting them drive me nuts because I wasn’t clever enough to think of them the first time around, I’ve decided to do an official response to them here. At least this way we can all geek out together (again) instead of me trying to do it quietly in my own head.

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The internet, as seen a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

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Customer Service: Nintendo’s Doing it Right

While July 1st typically conjures thoughts of impending fireworks and barbecues for the average American, there is a certain breed of nerd for whom it’s New Years Day.

Club Nintendo, aka one of the sneakiest vehicles for market research on the planet, is a free membership program offered by Nintendo to its consumers. By registering the PIN codes included with specific game titles, gamers can earn coins that can then be used to for reward items in exchange for answering a short survey. If a user manages to accumulate 300 coins within one calendar year, that user achieves Gold status; those that earn twice that amount achieve Platinum. For whatever reason, Club Nintendo’s calendar begins its year on the first of July. This is significant because it also resets the counter tracking new coins. The previously earned coins are still there, and can still be spent on rewards, but each member’s progress toward achieving Gold or Platinum status is returned to zero after June 30th.

Well, last night was Club Nintendo’s new year’s eve, and I realized that I was still 70 coins shy of achieving Gold for the year. If it was purely a pat-on-the-back sort of ranking, I wouldn’t care if I reached it or not, but Club Nintendo offers a special free gift for its Gold and Platinum members each year. So far I’d managed to reach at least Gold for the last six years, and I wasn’t about to let 230 coins go to waste. Looking over my game shelf, I noticed that I still hadn’t opened New Super Mario Bros. U, which came bundled with my WiiU. I figured that it’d at least get me a big chunk of the way toward my goal (especially since it also contained the Luigi expansion), so I shredded the plastic wrap and cracked open the case — only to find it absent of a PIN code.

Figuring the PIN was simply missing, I decided to call up Club Nintendo to have it manually added to my account. I scoured the website and tracked down the toll free number, and after wading through the menu system, I found myself on hold to speak with a representative.

And that’s when I discovered that Nintendo is brilliant.

Many of you will recognize this as the daytime theme to Hyrule Field in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. As it turns out, it’s also the hold music on Nintendo’s hotline.

This is nothing short of genius on their part. Ocarina of Time is not only one of Nintendo’s most wildly successful titles, but it’s considered by many to be one of the greatest games of all time. There’s a very good chance that the people calling them up will be at least mildly familiar with the song, and upon realizing that it’s a tune from such a beloved title, they’ll probably be in a better mood. This is exactly what happened to me when I was on the phone last night; I can’t even tell you how long I was on hold, because I was so giddy over the fact that a Zelda song was being used as the hold music that I spent my time jamming along in my seat instead of getting impatient or annoyed.

Furthermore, my attitude once I got to talk to a representative was significantly better than it probably would’ve been otherwise. I ultimately received bad news from the gent helping me; apparently bundled games aren’t eligible for Club Nintendo points, but I was in such high spirits, the news really didn’t bother me that much. Instead I thanked the guy for his help and told him that the hold music was a very pleasant surprise. He chuckled and said that they get that a lot.

In light of what I learned last night, I’m kinda tempted to start calling up other game developers just to see if they too have done anything fun with their hold music. It really is something that more companies need to adopt; if someone’s calling customer service, they obviously have a problem, and given that some waits can be upwards of an hour or more, having good music can probably go a VERY long way toward making customers feel better about their outcomes, even if they didn’t get what they wanted.

Obligatory Legal Crap

I am in no way affiliated with Nintendo, Club Nintendo, or Legend of Zelda. I’m just a geek that found myself wanting to hook up my N64 after I got off the phone with customer service.

Yoda’s Species Finally Revealed

For a series with as much lore as Star Wars, it always amazes me when certain details are left undefined. Don’t get me wrong, I do see the appeal in leaving bits of data blank; the imagination of writers often pales in comparison to the variety and scale of the fan theories that will arise in its absence. However, Star Wars is rarely the type of franchise that leaves stones unturned. There are entire encyclopedias of information about the Star Wars universe that never makes it into the movies, games, or other official media. The ridiculous extent to which the story takes its world building is part of what rocketed George Lucas into film and sci-fi history — and why it seems so odd to me that no official name for Yoda’s species has ever been established.

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Until now, that is.

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Mario Marathon kicks off 7th year for Child’s Play Charity

Those of you who’ve been around for a while may recall that Respawn Point is not the only group whose charity marathons I follow. The annual Mario Marathon has officially begun its 7th consecutive year behind the controller, tackling all of the main platforming games in the Mario franchise. As with every year, all proceeds go directly to Child’s Play Charity without the team ever touching it, and the cumulative donations unlock levels for the team to play for the duration of the marathon.

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Mario Marathon has broadcast yearly since 2008 and raised over $415,000 leading up to this year’s event.

As if providing some escapism for sick children isn’t motivation enough, the team is also doing more contests more often this year to help bring in donations and spread the word. MM7 t-shirts are being raffled off every two hours to both donors and Twitter advertisers. To earn a raffle ticket, viewers can get one ticket per every $5 in donations, or a single ticket for tweeting a link to the marathon (no multiples). Other prizes will also be available, but what, when, and how are decided spur-of-the-moment. The only way to find out is to tune in to the show, and if you’re going to be there anyway, you may as well donate!

Obligatory Legal Crap

Mario, Luigi, Super Mario Bros, and all other games in the series (as well as their respective elements) are the property of Nintendo. Mario Marathon is not endorsed by Nintendo, but it’s not opposed by them either, which is why it’s gone on for seven years.

Child’s Play Charity is a non-profit organization that provides books, games, and other toys for children’s hospitals worldwide. I’m not completely sure what is and isn’t their property beyond their name and logo, so let’s leave it at that.

I am not directly affiliated with either Mario Marathon or Child’s Play Charity, but I am enough of a regular to the MM team that they routinely torture me with a ceramic pig.

Father’s Day: Blood vs. Electricity

Father’s Day is often characterized by imagery of backyard barbecues, early morning fishing, and two little kids hugging their daddy from either side. Candies, golfing equipment, barcaloungers, and ties that will never, ever be worn to work make for popular gifts. Department stores slap the phrase “#1 Dad” on just about anything that can be imagined, guaranteeing that you can remind your father of his status no matter what his interests are.

I, however, did not engage in any of those things Sunday. I bought my father a card, as I do every year, but that was the extent of our activities for the day. My relationship with my father has always been very… iffy. Between his intimidating, military presence and my meek and people-pleasing childhood outlook, we never really had a strong foundation to start out on. He came off as cold, judgemental, and clearly favoring my brother. I couldn’t make him laugh when I tried to entertain him, but boy did he laugh anytime I was embarrassed. Rather than telling me he loved me, the phrase I heard at the end of every conversation was, “Keep your grades up.” As for video games, I never felt so much disapproval as when I dared to bring games to his house, and he and his wife called my decision to study game design “stupid” two days before my first class. As of an argument over a series of lies he’s been telling for the last four years, my father and I rarely speak anymore.

Which is why I chose to spend the holiday with this guy — and learned a few things about myself.

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(Warning: Major spoilers ahead.)

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The Secret Legend of Princess Zelda

Well, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you by now that the interwebs are buzzing like a hive of fangasming hornets about the plethora of reveals made at E3 so far. Gamers around the globe have been inundated with so much new information that many folks can’t even pick a topic to squeal about, which I quickly noticed when a friend of mine IMed me as soon as I got online and covered three different topics in a single sentence.

Among the many reveals Tuesday was Nintendo’s announcement of a new collaborative spin-off for the Legend of Zelda series. Partnering with Tecmo Koei, Hyrule Warriors offers a departure from the typical LoZ dungeon crawl and keeps a much tighter focus on the combat. Between the Dynasty Warriors-esque gameplay style, the abundance of playable female characters, and Link’s decision to partake in the trend of protagonists sporting rad new scarves, there’s been a lot of chatter in the last 48 hours.

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Leaving that much vital chest area exposed doesn’t seem very wise for the person the holding the Triforce of Wisdom.

Zelda in particular has been getting a lot of the attention. While this isn’t the first time she’s been playable, one would think that the series’ title character would’ve had a lot more active roles by now as opposed to spending the bulk of the last 25 years as the proverbial carrot on a stick. Furthermore, the only two games in which Zelda is actually the protagonist are sorta… well… they’re not quite… they… okay they suck. For this reason, many a fan is celebrating the news that we’ll all be able to assume the role of the iconic princess without having to bother with possessing phantoms, entering a fighting tournament, or obtaining outrageously rare hardware and software that isn’t even fun to play.

But perhaps the bigger news is the fact that we’ve all played as Zelda plenty of times before without even realizing it.

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Obscure Observations: Parasitic Twins

Metroid: Zero Mission, released by Nintendo for the GameBoy Advance in 2004, is a title that rarely needs a formal introduction. It retold and revamped the original 1986 NES game by introducing graphics, controls, powers, and storytelling in a manner highly reminiscent of Super Metroid. It payed homage to several games in the series while still managing to stamp its own unique fingerprint on the Metroid canon. Needless to say, the game was a huge hit.

But I’m not here to talk about popularity today. I’m here to talk about bugs.

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Yeah, these little shits.

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