Adorable 3DS life sim Animal Crossing: New Leaf launched yesterday in North America and will be out this weekend in Europe. Who’s playing? Here’s a thread to share fossil collecting tips and exchange friend codes.
I’ve borrowed a 3DS and have been playing Style Savvy: Trendsetters, the sequel to the 2009 DS game Style Savvy. They are both fashion games that are part business sim: players take on the role of a manager of a fashion boutique and are tasked with picking out items for customers according to their taste and keeping the store stocked. With these two elements, the game combines strategy with creativity in a fresh way. A customer will come in and ask for, say, a bold shirt, and if the player picks a shirt of that taste, the customer will buy it, adding funds to the shop, which the player then use to buy more stock. Customers will often ask for entire outfits in a certain style, or if the player puts together a good outfit on her window mannequin, someone will buy the entire thing. That’s the creative part. The strategy part comes in when the player heads to the buyer’s center to stock up on items. There are a number of brands in different styles, and the player needs to decide which items will best meet her customers’ needs. Trendsetters is different from the original in that it adds men’s fashion, a slightly creepier art style as far as faces are concerned, and 3D.
I enjoy both games a lot, and yet there’s also something deeply limiting about them. Items in the game have a number of different attributes, but the most important are brand and taste, which are related. There’s an edgy brand, a gothic lolita brand, a pop brand, a preppy brand, an athletic brand. So when someone comes in asking for a pop t-shirt, the player just looks for the Mint Sprinkles brand and the customer will be all over it. In the original game, the player had to memorize which brand was which (most were obvious, but some were less so), but Trendsetters adds the ability to search the shop inventory based on any number of factors, including brand and taste, which are separate. In the sequel, if someone asks for bold pants, but the shop doesn’t have anything from the bold brand, AZ USA, something from the edgy brand Stage Dive may do.
So there’s a little more freedom this time around, but it still doesn’t quite capture what’s fun about fashion, which is putting together an outfit with unexpected combinations that somehow totally work, or combining styles that balance each other out. In the world of Style Savvy, only the expected is allowed. Successful outfits generally mean dressing head-to-toe in a specific brand. My favorite kind of outfit is to mix girly dresses with tough boots, jackets, and accessories, but in the game, that would be fashion blasphemy. You can’t mix Stage Dive and Cantata Modo! That’s just ridiculous!
But in the real world of fashion, rules are made to be broken. Traditional rules like “don’t pair brown and black” just don’t hold any more. But I’m a programmer, I know how computers work, and computers need hard and fast rules. A computer can’t judge something as subjective as style (not yet, anyway). So unless a game is purely creative, there are going to be these limitations. I don’t fault Style Savvy for having those limitations; after all, it does quite a good job of making the player feel like a boutique manager within them. But I can’t help wishing that the game gave the player a bit more freedom to mix things up, to create something unexpected.
Quite recently Team Ninja revealed that its next Dead or Alive title, subtitled Dimensions and for the upcoming 3DS, will feature a stage from the same developer’s recent Metroid title. This stage would feature a hazard in Ridley, long-time Samus nemesis who rakes a fighter along the walls of the stage, and the end of the video showed Samus in her morph ball mode, lighting up (what I took to her setting off a bomb).
This led to fan speculation that she would appear as a featured fighter in the game. However, according to Eurogamer, this is not to be the case. Samus will remain as a cameo; speculation was fueled because DOA, notorious for its sexually charged depictions of women (as someone who plays few fighters, what I’ve read most about it is its use of jiggle physics–sigh) has featured cross-over fighters in the past, most recently from the Halo series. To say I’m relieved would be a small step.
As I made clear in my view of Team Ninja’s Metroid: Other M, and as our own editor Brinstar has mentioned in conversation a few times, the sexualization of Samus Aran began long before Team Ninja started making their Metroid; they were not responsible for the Zero Suit Samus we have already seen featured in Nintendo’s own fighting series Smash Bros and premiering in Metroid: Zero Mission. The series also has a history of encouraging players to game the system to achieve shorter completion times, which will reveal Samus in various forms of undress, the ‘highest’ reward being that of seeing her in a space bikini. It should be noted, that her Zero Suit form in Super Smash Bros. Brawl is about as scintillating as one would expect from Team Ninja’s DOA series, even if covering more skin.
Therefore, the news, while welcome, only makes me wonder more what plans Nintendo has for this franchise.
N.B. The above plushie was made by DeviantArt user BabyLondonStar.
Nintendo held a press release today, finally releasing lots of juicy tidbits about their new portable. The 3DS is the next installment in the DS line of handhelds, and looks to be an expensive way to get your gaming in on the go. We have been pulling together the details from around the web and have a full guide here for you.
The release date for the 3DS is February 26, 2011 (Japan), March 25, 2011 (Europe) and March 27th, 2011 (U.S).
The 3DS will be priced at $249, making it an expensive option for handheld gamers.
Like its predecessors, the 3DS features two screens. The top screen is a full 3D screen with a resolution of 800 x 240. It does not require 3D glasses in order to see the 3D effect. The bottom screen is a touch screen without 3D, and has a resolution of 320 x 240.
The 3DS has three total cameras, all of which are 0.3 megapixel. Two are located on the outside of the device with the ability to take 3D photos, and one is facing the player on the top of the device with the ability to take 2D photos and video.
In addition to the standard directional pad, there will also be a new analog circle button similar to other home consoles.
It also contains a gyroscope, pedometer, and accelerometer, capable of making games more interactive but potentially more difficult to play for those with disabilities. At this time, it’s not clear whether these features will be required for some games or if they will be able to be toggled off.
The battery will last 3-5 hours while playing 3DS games, and 5-8 hours for regular DS games.
Color options will be either Aqua Blue or Cosmo Black.
Here is a video preview of the 3DS hardware:
The 3DS will be backwards compatible with all DS and DSi games. You will also be able to transfer your digital purchases made on other 3DS’s or DSi devices to the 3DS. There will be extensive anti-piracy technology that will supposedly prevent gamers from using flash cart modifications to pirate 3DS games.
A Virtual Console service will allow players to download old Gameboy and Gameboy Color games via built-in wi-fi. There will also be 3D games available on this service.
The multiplayer features of the 3DS are upgraded from the previous DS models. The device features multiplayer over local network connections or over the internet. Unlike the DS which required a friend code to be exchanged for each game, the 3DS will have only one friend code which will work for all games. The 3DS features sophisticated wi-fi hotspot seeking connectivity, and the ability to passively download and share gaming information with other 3DS players (such as your Mii avatar). These features do have the option to opt-out for those who are uncomfortable with realtime sharing of gaming information.
The 3DS will be capable of playing 3D movies, and Nintendo has worked out deals with Warner Brothers, Disney, and DreamWorks to bring 3D movies to the device.
The 3Ds comes with a wealth of preinstalled and downloadable software.
The first is the ability to view the online status of your friends and know what they’re playing at any time. If a friend is playing the same game as you at the same time, the light at the top of the device will glow orange.
The 3DS features multitasking, in which you can have multiple applications open at the same time.
A full video walkthrough of many of the built in software including photo merging, friend status, augmented reality, and Mii creation is available:
There will be three titles available at launch: Nintendogs + Cats, Steel Diver, and Pilotwings Resort. There will then be a launch window in which games will be released each Tuesday starting on March 27th and ending on June 7 (coinciding with E3).
The following games will be released in North America during the “launch window”:
Asphal 3D (Ubisoft)
Bust-a-Move Universe (Square Enix)
Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D (Ubisoft)
Crush 3D (Sega)
Dead or Alive Dimensions (Tecmo Koei)
Dual Pen Sport (Namco Bandai)
Lego Star Wars 3: The Clone Wars (LucasArts)
Madden NFL Football (EA Sports)
Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D (Konami)
Rabbids Travel in Time (Ubisoft)
Rayman 3D (Ubisoft)
Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D (Capcom)
Ridge Racer 3D (Namco Bandai)
Samurai Warriors Chronicles (Tecmo Koei)
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked (Atlus)
The Sims 3 (EA)
Super Monkey Ball 3D (Sega
Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition (Capcom)
Thor: God of Thunder (Sega)
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Shadow Wars (Ubisoft)
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell 3D (Ubisoft)
Nintendo is also working on the following first party titles: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Animal Crossing, Mario Kart, Paper Mario, Star Fox 64 3D. These games do not have a release date yet. More than 30 3DS games should release by June. Here is a video preview of Zelda:
Will you be buying the 3DS when it launches?