The Gamebag

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Talking Point: Nintendo Follows Up on Their Strange eMail

Since posting, the strange eMail we got from Nintendo prompted controversy, so we decided to get to the bottom of why we got something like that. Our response from Nintendo was this:

Hello,
Thank you for contacting Nintendo. I’m happy to address your concerns regarding that response and the Wii’s Virtual Console service. Let me give you the real answer about the Virtual Console first.

Each week we make available a mix of Virtual Console, WiiWare, and DSiWare games. Combined, these services currently provide gamers with hundreds of fun and interesting downloadable games to choose from. There is no preset schedule as to how many games will become available in a given week, but I can assure you that many more Virtual Console, WiiWare, and Nintendo DSiWare games are on the way!

As for the response, I have no idea where it came from. You already noted that there’s a lot of short-hand and as we are writing official email for a business, we don’t do things like capitalize “NO” or any other words. We also sign all of our email as they are all answered by real people.
Sincerely,
R.M. Ricketts
Nintendo of America Inc.

So this representative says that because of their llittle mix up method, we did not recieve Virtual Console games for two whole weeks. So either someone was doing a lousy job, or we got an incredibly dim representative.

August 1, 2009 Posted by | Talking Points | , | 1 Comment

Interview: Nnooo

We at the gamebag recently conducted an interview with Nic Watt, the creative director at Nnooo, asking about their latest entry and what’s more to come.

To begin with, thank you for taking your time to do this interview with me, first, could you tell us a little about your history?
Sure. I personally have worked in the games industry for over 10
years now and prior to starting Nnooo I was a lead designer at EA in
London. When my partner was asked to move to Australia we jumped at
the chance and so I made the tough decision to leave EA and to set up
my own games company.

Our first product Pop was a launch title for WiiWare in North America
and since then has been launched in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and
Japan. We have also launched it on the iPhone and are now very, very
close to releasing Pop+ Solo for DSiWare.
To your recently finished project Pop+ Solo, could you tell us a bit about how it improves from its predecessors?
Pop+ Solo has lots of new content as well as some minor tweaks to
balancing which make it, we think, the best version of Pop yet! We
have added a whole load of new modes and bonus rounds to bring the
total number of modes up to 8 and bonus rounds to 4.

These are: Adventure mode complete with mines, jets, gold fish and
boss battles; Challenge mode where you can practice a particular wave
and/or set yourself a score and time to beat; Timed mode with 1, 2 or
5 minute challenges; and Bonus Mode where you can play your favourite
bonus rounds in 3, 5 or 10 rounds of difficulty.
Why did you choose the boss battles you did?
We wanted the boss battles to reflect the underwater nature of the
game and felt that a Shark, Starfish and Squid best matched that
philosophy. They all use similar mechanics in that you have to pop
bubbles initially to build up your timer and then attack the boss by
tapping on it. Each one however has slightly different attacks and so
forth.

Another reason we added them was to broaden the appeal of the game.
We felt that a lot of people were writing Pop off as just 'that bubble
popping game' without giving it a chance and realising the depth to
the gameplay. By adding bosses we hope that more people will consider
its charms and give it a go!
Moving onto your next project, Pop+ Versus, are you holding off on working further until Pop+ Solo's results come in?
Unfortunately yes. We have a lot of the groundwork done however as a
small developer we need to be careful where we spend our money. If
Pop+ Solo is a success we plan to start Pop+ Versus in the next month
or so.
Will Pop+ Versus be a multiplayer exclusive game, or will it feature single player also?
It will be primarily a multiplayer exclusive game. However anyone who
owns Pop+ Solo will, we hope, be able to make use of all the single
player modes they have unlocked in Pop+ Solo. By this we mean that if
you own both and start Versus then all the multiplayer and single
player modes will be available to you whereas if you only own Versus
then just the multiplayer content will be available.

We are looking at Versus having both WiFi, Local and Download play
however we cannot confirm this yet as we have to investigate both.
Download play would enable you to play against friends who own an
original DS, a DS Lite and/or a DSi!
Onto the just announced myNotebook, what was your inspiration for that concept?
I have an iPhone as well as a DSi and i get really frustrated by the
Notes app on the iPhone as I have to use a keyboard. I decided that
using a stylus to take notes would be so much faster and much more
useful so I thought we'd give it a shot!
If the need arises, will you distribute more notebook colours?
Yes. We have designed the application so that we can easily create
new colour versions as necessary. Although we do not want to flood the
market too quickly and put people off!
Finally, since myNotebook is in the myLifeCollected series you announced, what other DSi functions would you touch upon while developing these applications?
Unfortunately you will have to wait and see! We have some great plans
so watch this space!
Again, thank you for taking your time to do this interview with us, do you have anything else you'd like to say?
Thanks to you interviewing us and we hope your readers find what we
have to say interesting! We also hope you are looking forward to both
Pop+ Solo and myNotebook coming to DSiWare very soon.
-Nic Watt
Creative Director
We'd like to thank Nnooo for taking time out of their busy schedule to interview us at the Gamebag. I'd also like to thank Jorge for getting it up for me! Nic Watt was speaking to Seth.

July 27, 2009 Posted by | Interviews | 1 Comment

Review: My Pokémon Ranch

For today’s review, I’m featuring the 1000 point game, My Pokemon Ranch. This is a second party title published by Nintendo which works as a storage method of your pokemon captured in the games Pokemon Diamond Version, Pokemon Pearl Version, and most recently, Pokemon Platinum Version. When you first start up the game, a confirmation screen will show the time and date saved on your Wii Console, and ask if it’s the correct time. After that, you’ll be greeted by the main character of the game, she’ll go into a little ramble then transport you to the ranch. She’ll introduce how it works, and then you’re thrown into the gameplay.
Every day the game will go through a routine. The Ranch Hand will go though dialogue, show that she’s brought pokemon. Add them to the ranch, and then youll just be set to observe, that’s what you’ll be doing, observing the antics of what pokemon will interact with. Admittingly, it does have charm to see how the pokemon will act when you mess around like with the toys that are provided everyday, when idle, what formations they’ll perform and so on. But it gets stale within a matter of minutes and then you’ll want to leave. The ranchn hand will go through more dialogue, ask if the type of pokemon she wants to bring to the ranch is acceptable, then you leave.
The game’s true “use,” comes in the form of being able to transfer your pokemon from Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, and/or Platinum. The game attempts to keep you coming back by limiting your initial space, which is 20 pokemon. The ranch will expand once you reach a certain number of pokemon within the ranch. The ranch supports up to 8 different game carts, which seems nice at first but the limitations which were set will put you off. You may not switch ownership of the pokemon between game carts. If you restart your game on one cart, the pokemon within the ranch CANNOT be recovered. You cannnot train or level the pokemon in any way whatsoever. That actually renders the game useless as a storage mechanism because ownership is not interchangable.
The game offers a wide array of features which are a bit irrelevant. First, if you are to connect your Nintendo DS to the game, your pokedex will be checked, and the ranch hand will ask you to capture specific pokemon within a week. The game also supports Miis which will act much like the pokemon. Pictures can be taken within the game and sent to the Wii Message Board or an SD Card. If any of your Wii Console friends own the game also, and WiiConnect24 us active, you will be asked to come visit their ranch and see what pokemon they’ve stored there. To top it all off the art style is grotesque and the pokemon resemble their 2D forms only slightly.

Conclusion:
My Pokemon Ranch is a game with a lot of potential, but is quickly thrown out, with limited connectivity and functionality, although it has charm, it does little to redeem itself in the slightest.

Scores:
Value: 500/1000 Wii Points
Recommendation: Not Recommended
Score: 3/10

July 25, 2009 Posted by | Reviews | 2 Comments

Feature Poll


I’ve been thinking about a feature to add here, but until I get some more readership(hint, hint), I don’t want to go overboard with it. Just choose your favourite, then one month after today, I’ll choose most popular option as a regular feature on The Gamebag.

Feedback’s always appreciated!

July 18, 2009 Posted by | Miscellaneous | | Leave a comment

Review: PLÄTTCHEN- Twist ‘n’ Paint

On the review chopping block today is Bplus’ PLATTCHEN- Twist ‘n’ Paint. This is actually Bplus’ first entry onto WiiWare,a very big entry at that. When you first begin the game, you’ll be greeted with a cutscene that explains the story of the game that focuses on the magical gearwheel, the ZeLeLi. You will be asked to make a profile where you will pop bubbles to make your profile name. It’s fustrating when the letters start overlapping, lengthening the process to about 5 minutes to get a devent four letter name in. After that, you’re presented a six by five array of panels. The first row is labelled classic, the second row is Copycat, the third row Mission, fourth is Party, and the fifth one is options. In all three modes, you twist the controller to select a colour, then you select a panel with your IR pointer to change the colour of that panel.
The goal of classic mode is to line up at least four panels called plattchen, of the same colour for them to react, then after a few seconds they will explode, lining up more plattchen will increase your energy bar. The resulting energy is used to fill up your energy bar which is how you complete the level. Run out of energy, or plattchen to connect and you lose. There are MANY, MANY factors concerning strategies, methods, items and what not when it comes to the mechanics, which is a major gripe since it makes learning the game hard, but once you get it, the real challenge will be the puzzles. The game can be controlled using the Wii Remote stand alone, the Wii Remote and Nunchuck, or the Wii Zapper. All have their advantages and disadvantages in their own respects, but they work pretty well.

Classic mode tries to keep the experience fresh by using Fantasies, which are essentially different worlds of the game with their own unique style and music. Most of the fantasies have items to shoot except for one, which is the Japan fantasy. The worlds are nice at first, but can be detrimental, and sometimes fustrating in the latter levels, but those are only two fantasies I’m speaking of, since your in game avatars, called FantasyMEs, which move about the screen can get hurt, and in some cases badly, and losing all of your lives, can cause you to lose the game also. In classic mode, there are one hundred levels in all.

Copycat mode is very simple. Within a time limit, you recreate four pictures displayed at the top left on the field by changing the colour of th plattchen. There are one hundred levels in this mode, and levels are unlocked by making the top seven places in classic mode. Mission mode is straightforward also, it requires you to complete specific taskes indicated by it’s respective introduction screen. Missions are unlocked by making the top 3 in classic mode. Completing levels in both the Copycat and Mission modes earns you time diamonds which are used to unlock special features in the game.
All the modes support up to four player co-op, but in Party mode, Classic is the only available mode to play and supports up to eight players. One player holding a Wii Remote, and one holding a nunchuck. You have the choice of one of the five modes it offers, VS, Out of Control, Split Screen, Destruction, and Bomb Rain, which adds frantic action to each of the levels, a nice addition, but it’d be too chaotic normally.

Conclusion:
Plattchen is a HUGE package, offering levels and modes for MANY hours of play, it doesn’t really get stale. But it often gets fuustrating at points and has an incredibly steep learning curve initially. The game requires commitment to learn the basics, which would turn most off, but looking past that, it’s a experience that is VERY enjoyable.

Scores:
Value: 1000/1000(1200/1500 EU) Wii Points
Recommendation: Not highly recommended
Score: 8/10

July 18, 2009 Posted by | Reviews | , , , , | Leave a comment