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Warrior’s Video Games of 2014

January 5, 2015

05 January 2015

The 3DS consolidated itself as the system of choice. From the Activity Log…

Mario Kart 7 39:20
Street Past Mii Plaza 33:31
Double Dragon 18:45
Pilotwings Resort 13:34
Mario Tennis Open 12:30
Super Smash Bros 10:40
Star Fox 64 9:27
Tetris Ultimate 8:35
Ninja Gaiden 3 – The Ancient Ship of Doom 6:50
Miiverse 6:48*
Nintendogs + Cats 5:43
Nintendo eShop 5:36
System Settings 2:11*
Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions 2:10
Activity Log 1:39*
Shovel Knight 1:32
Steel Diver – Sub Wars 1:20
Mario Golf – World Tour (demo) 1:13
Super Smash Bros (demo) 1:02
Super C 0:48
Super Mario Bros Deluxe 0:48
Castlevania 2 – Simon’s Quest 0:40
Sonic Boom Shattered Crystal (demo) 0:37
Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies (demo) 0:34
Fractured Soul (demo) 0:26
Rayman Origins (demo) 0:21
*3DS utilities

Overall Time 191:07
Overall Titles 47

Total Steps 1,103,045

I really wanted to crack 1 million steps this year so carried the 3DS everywhere. That included a trip mid-year to Japan, Estonia, Latvia and USA. Without that trip, I fall short. It’s an average of 2740 steps a day to crack 1 million. That equates to about 15 minutes of walking. Since I ride a bike to work, and walking for lunch averages around 2000 steps, much had to made up at the weekends. One outing to local shops ranges between 1500 and 2200 steps, so I needed three of those to break even, and something more to get ahead. Usually there were at least three outings. Going to a sporting event or shopping centre would really jack up the steps – to 5000, sometimes more. The average weekly steps were around 17,000, meaning a total of just under 900,000 for the year. While overseas, I recorded weeks of 58,304, 106,997 and 87,376 steps, so clearly I needed those and it was for that very reason of going overseas that I decided to carry the 3DS everywhere for the entire year. In 2015, the 3DS stays home during the work week. Last year, for convenience, I kept it at work all the time, bringing it home only on weekends.

The most steps in one day was 20,192 – leaving Riga. I walked quite a bit myself in the morning and then the walk to the ferry was quite long. The two days in Tallinn recorded 17,052 and 17,917 while the day to and in Riga was 15,134. The first of four days in New York was 16,016 while the last day was 17,091. The final day of the trip, in Washington DC, was 19,014. That was a big day, involving Arlington Cemetery, Lincoln Memorial and a Smithsonian. Fewest steps was 1,011 – for the flight home – just from walking around the terminal during the stopover at Los Angeles! Note that 3000 steps is probably about a kilometre, if we accept a step is the old “1 foot” in imperial, or 30cm metric.

The Games Played

Mario Kart 7 reigns supreme for a second year. Amazing, since it’s a game released December 2012. Total hours did drop from 64 to 39. Probably less time playing it online more than anything. Lately I’ve been focusing on the Time Trials, trying to beat the better ghosts by the Nintendo staff. They are they most challenging without being impossible. Of course, the multi-player is never tiring. I determined to succeed by avoiding the traditional combination of light characters in light vehicles with good acceleration. Donkey Kong in the Blue Seven with Monster Wheels is becoming my favourite.

It’s a massive amount of time at over 33 hours for the system’s little Street Pass Mii Plaza. Being in Japan for nearly two weeks meant there were constant “hits” to clear and take through the Street Past Quest (aka Find Mii) to rescue myself. I estimate I “met” over 500 other 3DS owners while overseas. Japan definitely the busiest overall. Surprisingly, the second time transiting through Stockholm, especially the Central Station, might have been the busiest single day with about 50 hits. Then at the hotel near Arlanda Airport I picked up a few at night, then I whole bunch the next morning (including repeat hits), and again at the airport. Being in Stockholm on weekends no doubt helped. New York was good one day at Penn Station and JFK Airport. Elsewhere, there’s few kids in Manhattan, so it’s usually the odd tourist that you hit. School kids in DC at the museums made it a bit better in that city. There was nothing in Estonia or Latvia. I’ve subsequently learnt that the service is not active there. Maybe the 3DS is not even sold there.

Thirty four of the 46 Japanese regions were hit. In USA for 9 days meant 30 regions were hit, including Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Strangest countries hit were Suriname (early in Japan) and Honduras (might have been at JFK, I can’t recall). Picked up eight regions in Sweden, four in Finland, and two in both Denmark and Norway. Sadly no map for these countries in the Mii Plaza so no idea how close I was to completing the country. Other multiple region hits were from France (2), Germany (3), Italy (3), Netherlands (2), Canada (3) and fellow 3DS holders from Australia. Note I had most Australia regions already hit, as well as at least one region in France, Gremany, Italy, USA, Japan and Canada. Some of them, like Japan and USA, might have had two or more already. Other countries hit were Switzerland (transfer through Zurich Airport to reach Stockholm), UK (region: Wales) and Spain. I spent about 12 hours in Mii Plaza while away. Average monthly time is about 1 hour.

Double Dragon is the NES version from the Nintendo eShop and I was so dedicated to beating it. It was such a tough game, really old school in that failures meant repeating from the start. That’s good because it builds your skill set and memory. I continued on from Pilotwings Resort from the end of the last year. The best version of Pilotwings ever. So, too, is Mario Tennis Open of the Mario Tennis series. The tournaments are actually challenging towards the end, plus there’s super tough difficulty levels in Exhibition mode, there’s Mii and Street Pass support, and the multi-player is brilliant and only requires one copy of the game. Sadly, the online suffers in being restricted to your own region. There’s very few players in Australia and New Zealand; I’ve rarely had a game. I can only think the restriction is due to preventing lag. Tetris Ultimate might just be the best Tetris ever too. It was a Christmas present and, in such a short time, it rocketed up the charts. With online leaderboards, that only makes it more addictive, and compelling. Ninja Gaiden 3 is similar to Double Dragon – except I’m finding it tougher. Shovel Knight is a game in that old style, except it’s a recent game. I was distracted by other games so regret not putting more time into it. I was long curious about the Nintendogs series, so picked up a discounted copy Nintendogs + Cats. Cute game. I went for the Golden Labrador version because it had a beagle. I called him Leckie. I’ll get a feline playmate for him and call it Gizmo. Star Fox 64 just keeps on keeping on. A brilliant game.

Games Played Elsewhere

Gran Turismo 6 on the PS3 and Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U – the latter being owned by friends. Despite being a Nintendo fan at heart, I’m not interested in a WU yet. Mario Karts have always suffered for the single player experience, and MK8 is not much different. For seasoned players, the Grand Prix are too easy to win, and then there’s nothing else unless Time Trials are of interest. While they are for me, I still have plenty of life in those on MK7 on the 3DS. Other than MK8, the WU is lifeless. Acquiring the brilliant album Moonland by Lenna Kuurmaa has meant that Audiosurf has been dusted off on the PC. Yep, PC gaming is dead too. That game must be 10 years old now. As for PlayStation 4 or XBone, this could the first generation I totally bypass. Facts are, 3DS satisfies in every way possible (except for a new F-Zero and a new Metroid).

Game Of The Year

Super Smash Bros on 3DS! It’s not just that it plays so well, it’s the content that is staggering. It’s probably the most complete, feature packed game since Perfect Dark on the N64. I’m only scratching the surface of it and have put in over 10 hours already. After using Yoshi or Donkey Kong in the incarnation on the GameCube, I’m branching out, particularly with Zero Suit Samus. If there’s one game that will knock Mario Kart 7 off the charts in 2015, it will be Super Smash Bros, or maybe Tetris Ultimate…

Video Games of 2013

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