My Nintendo, Again

When you gonna give to me, a gift to me
Is it just a matter of time, Nintendo?

Last year, I commented on how useless the then-recent My Nintendo Rewards scheme was. I said back then:

Quickly, I racked up enough of these new coins to buy the Zelda Picross game from the My Nintendo Rewards page, which was pretty good, and I looked forward to obtaining more free games like this.

But they never came. And they haven’t since. In fact, the situation has become even worse.

Since last year, the Nintendo Switch has come out. If you tie your Switch account to your My Nintendo account, you can accumulate Gold Coins with every Switch game purchase – even physical titles. You also now have more ways to “earn” Platinum Coins, if you play mobile titles like Mario Run or Fire Emblem Heroes (which I don’t, incidentally).

Sadly, there’s still nothing to buy with any of these coins. Some money off games that 1) I already have, and 2) are often still cheaper elsewhere. Today, I received an email from Nintendo telling me there were some new “Just For You” deals, presumably just for me. How kind! Looking at the offerings, I see I can get The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons for my 3DS at a discount. That would be great, only I already bought it on the eShop years ago on the very account already tied to my My Nintendo account. Not only that, but it was cheaper then than it is now even with the discount. In addition, I bloody completed it again just three days ago.

Furthermore, over the months, my “coins” – which I can’t spend, remember – have been expiring. I’ve lost over 6000 Platinum points so far. Sure, I could have spent them getting a copy of Picross e3 or e4 slightly cheaper but guess what? I already have them. Come the end of the month, another 500 Platinum Coins disappear, unspent, and in October my Gold coins start expiring too.

It’s a rubbish system, Nintendo. Why can’t you just give us some NES games for a few hundred coins? Or a generic “10% off the eShop” voucher? There’s no point offering me money off stuff I already have and literally can’t buy again even if I wanted to as you can only have one copy per account! Sort it out.

Play Want Bin Expense: 2017-06-05

This is the end, my only friend, the end. Of some games.

I completed some games! Seems like ages since I did that last, although probably isn’t.

Play

Lego City Undercover (Switch)
Certainly not 100%ed, yet, but we completed the story. As I’ve said elsewhere, it’s the same game as it was on the Wii U. But it’s even better because it’s two player. Sure, that’s bodged into it, but it’s more fun. In addition, mopping up all the collectables and stuff is much quicker when you can split up. Also, ramming my daughter’s car into the sea never gets old.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (3DS)
And that’s both the Oracles games done! Not only that, but I went on to defeat Twinrova and Not-Quite-Ganon too. It seemed easier than last time I played them, but that was a long time ago. Whatever, though, I still maintain these are the best Zelda games. Breath of the Wild is excellent, Oracle of Ages/Seasons is/are better.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (PS4)
Yes I am still playing this, thanks for asking. Currently 50+ hours in, 93%-ish completed. The main things I’ve been doing this week have been completing the Darwin and Dickens side missions, and beating all the Fight Club and race events. I’ve still a few races left to go, mind. And can I find the last Royal Correspondence letter? Can I hell.

Fast RMX (Switch)
It dawned on me I’d not played this since Switch launch day. I played it some more. I unlocked a few more tracks or races or something. Then I put it away again. I think if I liked F-Zero and/or Wipeout, then I’d like it more. It isn’t bad by any measure, but it’s not really my sort of game.

Want

All the same things. Which include, but probably isn’t exclusive to, Sonic Mania (Switch) and Golf Story (Switch).

Bin

Nothing game related.

Expense

Nothing this week!

Play Want Bin Expense: 2017-05-30

No YOU’RE a day late. Also, bank holiday.

That’s right, because I’m counting the Bank Holiday Monday as last week. No, I didn’t do that last time. No, I don’t care what you think.

Play

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (PS4)
One day, I will be rid of this game, but not just yet. The other night I spent two whole hours searching for just a single chest in the World War I area of the map. Two hours. To find one chest. Ubi are really pushing the limits of fun there, I think. I’ve also finished all the Karl Marx missions. The final one of those can do one though. You have to kidnap four guys without the others seeing you. Only two of them are facing each other. If either spots you, Marx is shot. In the end I just killed them all from the rooftops, and that seemed to work.

Lego City Undercover (Switch)
Such a great game. One of my favourite bits was enduring all the terrible Arnold Schwarzenegger film reference puns in the construction site level. Some incredible levels of punnery on show there. Especially the Conan one. Additionally, it’s hard to understate just how much two player mode adds to the game, even if it is a bit shoehorned in and makes no sense in terms of the story.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (3DS)
With five dungeons complete, I’m past the half-way point now. Note to self (and anyone else who intends to play this or Oracle of Ages): don’t stop playing. Take a few days off, and you’ll be totally lost. I did that, and had to use a guide to figure out just what the hell I’d been doing last time. Back on track now though.

Disgaea 5 (Demo) (Switch)
Look. The gameplay is just fine. It’s a polished turn based SRPG and from what I can see there’s nothing there to break it. I’d definitely enjoy it. But, and I’m frankly surprised at myself for saying this, the art style is terrible. Cutscenes and profile art is no issue, but the characters in the game look and act like a nasty Flash game. It just doesn’t fit. It shouldn’t matter, especially to me, but I can’t get past it.

Want

Sonic Mania (Switch), of course. But straight out of nowhere comes Golf Story (Switch) which looks just like a Mario-less GBA Mario Golf might. And GBA Mario Golf is incredible.

Bin

Hands. You read my post about being shocked with electricity several hundred times, right? That, then.

Also Disgaea’s art style.

Expense

Rising Storm (PC) – free on Humble Bundle
Bonanza Bros (MD) – traded it for a duplicate copy of a DS game
Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (PS4) – present
Hitman HD Trilogy (360) – £2

Zapped

Electricity really gets on my nerves.

Perhaps you’ve seen, in some of my previous posts, me moaning about how my fingers and hands hurt. It started one day a few months ago and hasn’t really got worse (or better) since. Sometimes it also affects my feet, wrists, legs, lips, nose and pretty much any of my skin to a greater or lesser degree.

In the process of getting what it is diagnosed, this week I had to have a Nerve Conduction Study. Before going in, I had a quick look at what it entailed – some sticky pads on my skin, a small electrical current, painless. A bit like an ECG crossed with a TENS machine. No problem.

I met the technician, who explained what was going to happen. Some stretchy metal rings were put round my finger. “Will this hurt?” I asked, hoping she’d confirm what I’d read. “Not at all. You might feel a buzzing sensation next to your finger, but most people don’t feel anything.”. Excellent. I was sceptical, but she’s done this hundreds of times. She wouldn’t get that wrong.

“OK, here we go. Relax your hand aaaaaand…” CRACK.

A massive belt coursed across my finger. An intense, searing pain. My entire arm was thrown backwards uncontrollably. I may have screamed.

“What?!” she remarked, somewhat surprised. “Surely that didn’t hurt?”, as my spasming, sweating hand clearly showed otherwise. “Yes, yes it did.”

I said to her, as I say to you now, “Perhaps I should explain”.

I’ve always been strangely susceptible to static shocks. Anything and everything can, and will, give me a jolt. Things you’d expect, like a car door after a drive (a belt from that once knocked me unconscious) or metal equipment when unpacked from polystyrene. PC tower cases are a nightmare. Frequently, my daughter shocks me. I’ve a few spots on my hands were actual blue sparks have burned the skin.

Everyone gets static shocks, but I get them all the time, and whereas most people go “ow!”, I collapse on the floor a quivering, twitching mess as the electricity goes to town on my synapses. You know in sci-fi when an android gets overloaded? That’s me. Once, I actually got a real electric shock (I touched the inside of a power supply when I thought it was unplugged), and it resulted in me temporarily being unable to control my hands or speak. I think someone may have needed to reboot me.

“Wow. How strange.” she said. “We’ve never had anyone like that in here before. Let me just check the settings.”. She cleaned the contacts, twiddled some stuff, and I sat there with what felt like my palms crying actual tears. “OK, I’ll try again”. CRACK.

And this was on the lowest setting. She had to zap my finger multiple times, so rattled through them quickly but it was still agony. The study required her to do the same test with a different finger. “Maybe this one won’t hurt so much?” she said, unconvincingly. CRACK. Perhaps I should also point out that this was an actual audible crack as much as a painful one. “This is really unusual. I’m not comfortable with carrying on the study if you’re going to be in this much pain.”. Me either, oddly enough.

But what was the alternative? I asked if there was a different test to find the same results, but of course, there isn’t. She said all that would happen is that I’d come back in three or four weeks and do the procedure again. “You’ll at least know what is going to happen, so it might not be so bad?”. No, what would happen is I’d stew for three to four weeks and make myself sick with worry. I had to do it then.

I discussed what more needed to be done. Turns out, we’d barely started – just a quarter of the way through my first hand, and still my other hand and both feet to go. Worst, was that the current so far hadn’t passed 16mA and “it could go up to 200mA”. I was going to die.

As luck would have it, I didn’t die. It certainly felt like I was going to, especially when the technician moved on from metal finger bands to an actual taser. Probing my wrist and elbows with two pointy bits, shooting bolts of blue terror down my arms. I swear I could see the route it took under the skin. There were certainly sparks. I was a golf club in a lightning storm. A couple of jolts caused me to involuntarily take a swing at her face. Honest.

The taser revealed an additional issue with my body. Long ago, I realised that (if you’re squeamish, skip this bit) it just refuses to allow anyone to take blood. Normally, phlebotomists try to needle you in the inside of your elbow, and for most people, this is fine. For me, it seems I have no veins there and best anyone manages is a slight red smear. Instead, I have to give blood out of wherever will give it up: my wrist, the back of my hand, or – on one particularly painful visit – the side of a finger. Mmm. Thankfully, needles don’t bother me and aside from the (bearable) pain of unusual stabbing locations, it isn’t that big an issue.

As an aside, I find I often get a “hero” nurse. I tell them not to bother wasting everyone’s time going for the arm, and just head straight for the wrist or hand. Of course I explain why, but then they go “Ah, so they’ve been doing it wrong. I have a reputation round here for getting blood out of a stone!” before pricking me three times and giving up. Or they have to get a more senior member of staff because they’re not allowed to try a non-standard bloodhole.

Anyway, I mention this because it seems my nerves suffer from the same hidden problem. This meant a lot more probing – test taser fire until the computer (and my hand) registered a “hit”. That, and having to push the electrodes further into my flesh in an attempt to get closer to the nerves themselves. When a nerve was found, the pain was in two places at once, and then she ramped up the current. What I learned here was that I could never be a spy.

With my hands and arms done, broken, burnt, she moved onto my feet. The taser here didn’t hurt so much when focused on my ankles. In fact, at first, I felt nothing at all. I had two thoughts; this isn’t so bad, it must just be my hands, and oh god what if I have no nerves in my feet?! It turned out something wasn’t switched on. Then, as the probes were moved up my calves, behind my knee, and unsexily part way up my shorts and along my thigh, oh my. You know that shot from Terminator 2 where the explosion hits and the blast tears the skin from the people in the playground? That was me.

When the ordeal was over, many hours (well, one and a half) later, it hurt. I could still “feel” the clicks. My nerves still triggering twitches. The azure fire that scorched me inside. Apparently my muscles could feel “a slight ache” for “a few minutes”. Hours later, I was still cursing this lie.

And the outcome? Of course, I need to wait on full results, but the preliminary suggestion is that my nerves are working just fine. My experience here would like to argue, quite strongly, with that.

The featured image is from Dustin Gaffke on Flickr, is unmodified and is used under this licence.

Play Want Bin Expense: 2017-05-22

Solve ALL the murders

Yes, I know I haven’t posted much other stuff recently. But these are fun, right? Right?

Play

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (PS4)
I completed it last week, but I’m still playing through, collecting stuff, solving murders, that sort of thing. Evie is stupidly overpowered now, though.

Picross e7 (3DS)
Completed, finally! Turned out it wasn’t quite as long as I was expecting, but £4.50 for not-far-off 30 hours of picross? That’s a bargain. Now the wait for Picross e8 begins, I suppose.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (3DS)
Only a little of this recently. I’ve finished off the third dungeon, which played out strangely as the mid-boss was almost immediately before the end boss. Perhaps I did something wrong, or broke a sequence, or something? Both were very easy. I’m now back in that weird underworld place looking for — I don’t actually know. I think I’m lost.

Lego City Undercover (Switch)
This is so good. In two player mode, it’s even better than it was on the Wii U, although having Chase McCain as both players is a bit “realism breaking”. Yes, I know it’s a game, and it’s all Lego, but even in-game it doesn’t make any sense. Luckily, it also doesn’t matter. I think we’re about 5 hours in, and on chapter 5 or 6.

Want

Stuff! I want Sonic Mania (Switch) of course, but I’ve actually got quite a few games to get through right now so I think I’m OK for a bit!

Bin

Fingers. Again. Other than that, nothing really. The battery in my phone? It lasts 20 minutes tops now.

Expense

Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across an actual bargain in Game – a copy of Chibi-Robo: Zip-Lash (3DS) complete with Chibi-Robo amiibo. New. For £9.99.

Less surprising, is the secondhand copy for £24.99, and the secondhand copy without the amiibo for £27.99. I didn’t get them.

Play Want Bin Expense: 2017-05-15

Switch? What Switch?

Two weeks in one! It’s a bonus double episode! (Or I’m lazy and/or forgot)

Play

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (PS4)
I wrote a lot more about it here, when I completed it, but in brief: It’s great, I really liked it, there are bugs, I’ll play it more even though the story is done, there’s no end of game sequence which is odd, and I’m now looking forward to Assassin’s Creed Origins. Assuming that’s the final name, which it possibly isn’t.

Picross e7 (3DS)
Some 23 hours in now, and still less than half finished. That’s skewed a bit though, as a quirk of mine is to generally do the harder puzzles first, and the easiest puzzles when I don’t have much time. This means most of the puzzles that aren’t yet done are in the middle somewhere. Oh, and I’ve finished the micross and bonus puzzles, so perhaps I’m closer to finished than I thought.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (3DS)
Because after finishing Oracle of Ages, of course I was going to make a start on this. I’m up to the third dungeon (I think), and it’s great. But then I knew that. I’m right about it being more combat-based than Oracle of Ages was too.

Want

One of the things I was going to mention was Lego City Undercover (Switch) again, but I got that this morning! I still want/need Sonic Mania (Switch) though, and having had a brief play of Blaster Master Zero (Switch) I think I want that too. And Assassin’s Creed Origins (PS4).

Bin

Fingers, still. They were less sore last week. They’re awful again today. Sigh. As for games, nothing really.

Expense

Lost Odyssey (360) – £2
New Art Academy (3DS) – £3
Metrico+ (Mac) – Free
Lego City Undercover (Switch) – Present
Paper Mario Colour Splash (Wii U) – Present

Alphabest: GameCube – L

L is for Les Dennis

Was it worth the lengthy wait for L? Without wishing to spoil it for you before we even begin, after recent letters, a definite yes. Yes it was.

L

But before we get onto that, there’s the important task of shunning a handful of wrestling games. Because unless they’re Fire Pro, Cutie Suzuki, or the arcade Wrestlemania game that I used to play sometimes, they ain’t winning nothing. Toodle-oo, Legends of Wrestling and Legends of Wrestling II.

Adieu aussi to some licenced tat: Looney Tunes: Back in Action, and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. Actually, Lemony Snicket isn’t as terrible as you might suspect, but I have no fondness for the source material and as you’ll see, there are far worthier contenders to come.

Three Lord of the Rings games get the chop too. Two of them are middling-to-average hacky-slashy titles which, if it wasn’t for the licence, wouldn’t even get a second glance. The third is a middling-to-average role playing title, which, if it wasn’t for the licence, wouldn’t even get a second glance.

The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning is an arrogantly named platformer. Spyro is not, and never was, any sort of legend. Like the other Spyro titles, this is dull, generic and bland. Bets thing Spyro ever did? Appear in Skylanders. That tells you a lot about Spyro.

There were two (count ’em) Lego Star Wars games for the GameCube. At the time, I didn’t like them. I don’t know why. The repetitive gameplay, the lack of interest in Star Wars, or the bugs? Later, I came to love the Lego games series, but these were not the best and aren’t fondly remembered. Even though I did 100% one of them.

So that’s what’s not. But what’s not not? What?

lost kingdomsLost Kingdoms came at a time when the GameCube really needed a role-playing game. But did it need this one? Well, no. But it was something different, meshing RPG dungeon-crawling with a real-time card battling mechanic. It took some getting used to, but get this: it’s by FromSoftware. Where are they now, eh? There was a Lost Kingdoms II, but sadly, it wasn’t as good.

zelda wind wakerThe Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is the best Zelda game on the GameCube. Aside from re-releases, which don’t count. Sure, it was unfinished. Certainly there was a lot of pointless boating and some horrible stealth sections. But those colours! Those facial expressions! That art style! I’m no big fan of 3D Zeldas, but as 3D Zeldas go, this was pretty special. Twilight Princess? Snore.

luigi's mansionLuigi’s Mansion is the GameCube launch title nobody knew they wanted. Disappointed by no actual Mario game, many ignored Luigi’s Mansion for obvious reasons, but as it turns out, it was fantastic. No other game before it had such a well developed atmosphere, as you explore a mansion solving puzzles and hoovering up ghosts. Sure, it was 90% Luigi humping furniture, but it was clever and different and it was a shame it took over a decade before we got a sequel (on the 3DS).

And the Alphabest?

You know, I’d probably put Lego Star Wars II in shortlist if I expanded it to four entries, but then where would the madness end? Not that it’s the Alphabest, of course. Just a comment.

The best L game for the GameCube is obvious. Luigi’s Mansion was a surprise, did something new, and – importantly – didn’t have tedious boating sections. Wind Waker was alright, but Luigi was best. And not just because of his scared “Mari-oooooo?” sound clips.

Next time, whenever that might be, I’ll tackle M. Mmmm, M.

 

Play Want Bin Expense: 2017-05-01

Wonder Boy: Oracle of Assassins (um, down a well)

Another Zelda-heavy week. But no Breath of the Wild at all.

Play

oracle of agesThe Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (3DS)
Which I’ve now completed. I posted my thoughts up on my Gaming Diary, but to summarise: It’s still excellent. It’s still one of if not the best Zelda games. It was full of puzzles, the combat was hard, and the two fire buttons of the GBC does age the item swapping mechanism somewhat. It took just over 17 hours and I loved it.

dragon's trapWonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap (Switch)
Another game from years ago, although this one has been tarted up graphically and sonically. It’s also fantastic, and I also completed it – something I could never do back on the Master System all them years ago. I was very pleased with myself, I have to admit. It did get me thinking though: Which other games would benefit from a similar type of reskin? Can we have Wonder Boy in Monster Land next, please? Also, that Monster Boy game that’s coming out soon has a big task ahead of it now.

syndicateAssassin’s Creed Syndicate (PS4)
Into the latter stages of the game now. I’m halfway through Sequence 7, but Sequence 8 appears to be optional and I think it only goes up to Sequence 10. Mostly, the game is currently playing out like this: Jacob cocks up, Evie repairs the damage. Playing as Evie is still a lot more fun than as Jacob too. As for how good the game is, I’m really enjoying it. I don’t know if I’m enjoying it more than Unity, but it has grown on me a lot since I started. I’m even having fun mopping up the territory take-over side quests.

Downwell (Vita)
Just a bit here and there. It’s hard.

Want

All the same things as ever, Sonic Mania (Switch) in particular, but I’m also starting to get interested in the next Assassin’s Creed game – Empire, if rumours are to be believed. I also want some other Switch games that are already out, like Lego City Undercover and Mario Kart.

Bin

Sore as they still are, my fingers/skin/entire being hasn’t been quite so bad this last week. I’m not cured, but it has been a little less annoying.

Game-wise, Claire can go in the bin. I briefly tried it again, it crashed twice, and I gave up. I ain’t got time for that.

Expense

Nothing! Not even free stuff.