Fresh posts from your friendly neighborhood N-Siders

  • Pardon our hiatus

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    I swear it's coincidence, but N-Sider seems to echo Nintendo's strategies more often than not. Similarities between the 2013 Wii U lineup and our editorial output are easy to make! Ha ha it's because neither of them exist. Oh man.

    I'm starting to find that when it comes to hobbies, it's best not to push them. When an enjoyable outlet starts to feel more like a responsibility, it's time to take a step back. Brandon was carrying the site pretty much all by himself for a looong time there, and that's something a person can only keep up for so long. I've been torturing myself mentally for upwards of eight (wow ugh) years now on getting a fresh version of the site put together and launched, and while this interim site was a small victory, it's far from the planned end result.

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    The site I want to make, and the site we want to write for, changes as we ourselves change. Five years ago it was a labyrinthine and art-filled database to end all databases. These days it's a site that can get out of the way, self-maintain, and fit into our lives when we feel like we need an outlet. People get older, priorities evolve.

    With that in mind, N-Sider's officially taking a break. It's not really a huge change considering this is the fourth post in four months, but it's mostly for our own peace of mind. N-Sider is something we want to do, but it's also something that preys on our minds when it feels like promised content has been left lingering. So we're gonna take some time to recharge, and work on these projects on whatever timescale feels good for us.

    Hang with us on the freshly reopened-to-registrations [and regrettably now re-closed due to spammers] N-Forums, and look forward to the day when we finally complete incubating some of the sweet ideas we've been sitting on.

    N-Sider will return.
  • I cannot deal with how excellent the Fire Emblem: Awakening soundtrack is

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    Man I could say so many things about Fire Emblem: Awakening, but at this point all I really want to share is how brain-scramblingly amazing the soundtrack is. I beat the game last night, and got access to the sound test mode, and have just been listening to it all day at work.

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    SO, I am going to just shamelessly vomit out an assortment of Youtube links to songs here. Be wary of comments and what have you, lest you inadvertently spoil this or that. The song titles are pretty safe though. If any of these links ever end up going down for some reason, you can easily find the songs just by plugging their title into the 'tubes.

    • Conquest (Ablaze) - The bass line on this one actually gives me a little bit of a Chrono Trigger feel.
    • Divine Decree (Ablaze) - I think these songs are all synth, including the vocals, which is pretty dag impressive.
    • Chaos (Ablaze) - These "Ablaze" versions are what you get when you enter a battle—a ton of more intense instrumentation is added to the map theme.

    I could.. seriously just list every single "Ablaze" song at this point, so MOVING ON

    • Id (Beginnings) - When I first got the game, and this played on the file-select screen, I just sat there and listened to it for ages. It is the most calming thing ever.
    • Monstrosity - Yep we are in full-on megaboss music territory here, with the robot-chorus kicked into overdrive.
    • Mastermind - This is like an insane mix between a Final Fantasy final boss theme, some Hideo Kojima game, and... uh, Avatar? And it only plays for mere seconds if you kill the guy too fast!
    • Id (Purpose) - This is basically the best song in the game, and perhaps the best song in ANY game. Okay I am riding a bit high on it at the moment but seriously this is the one that prompted me to make this post. Ride it out, it only gets better.

    And this is just a tiny glimpse of some of the more high-intensity songs. There's really not a sour note among the full soundtrack. If you haven't played it already, maybe you should!!!

    No seriously, play this game would you please. Even putting aside the soundtrack, the "actual game" is one of the most content-rich and ball-blastingly polished titles I've played in recent memory. I rate it a full bushel of video game units on your good-decider scale of choice.
  • If you're gonna "not compete," you need to go all the way

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    The Wii was Nintendo's way of saying "nope" to the presumed rules of the gaming industry. While its competitors screamed ahead in the power race, Nintendo sat on its hands, and decided it wanted to play a different game. And hey, it worked out for them pretty well, if you're the sort who gives two shits about sales numbers. But analysts, enthusiasts, and fatheads throughout the world refused to accept it. "Nope, they're doin' it wrong, why've they gotta be so stupid." And now we're seeing it again with the Wii U.

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    Over time the players in this industry have concocted a set of rules that define video games. New machines need to have bleeding edge graphics. Online services need to incorporate a very specific kind of account system, and have universal shared achievements, and there need to be demos, and voice chat, and social network integration, and blah blah blah. As each new gaming idea crops up and shows up in a machine, it's assumed that the other machines then have to "catch up" and implement it, lest they be labeled as "behind." Multiplatform releases are scrutinized at an atomic level, and the slightest discrepancy in framerate or texture clarity indicates a tremendous failure on the part of all those involved. It's a race to feature parity, a scrambling effort to achieve total homogeneity. "This is a video game," and anything different is crap.

    When Nintendo decided they wouldn't play this game, I think the problem is that they didn't go far enough.
  • Looking back at the Wii as we enter 2013

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    Well, another year has ended, and another winding-down Nintendo console has passed the baton to its successor. The Wii U, Nintendo's new generation console, is now the focus for fans—and something for me to anticipate as I save up to buy my own. As I go forth into 2013, I find myself taking a look back on my way forward, and reflecting on my own past experiences with the Wii.

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    The Wii was the first console I ever stood in a launch day line for. T'was a cold November morning in 2006. A light, sporadic drizzle added to the misery of around a hundred people standing outside Best Buy. I was number 62 in line—early enough to be guaranteed a system. We stood there for about two hours before they let us inside. By the time I was finally able to scurry home with my spoils, a six year love affair with Nintendo's little white box had already begun.
  • Happy holidays, lads and lasses!

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    Dear reader,

    It's getting to be about that time of year. All of us have something to do or somewhere to go, whether it's in front of the TV or down the street, or thousands of miles away. Bein's how we're just a few people who run this site, it's probably best for us to take a little break while we all do our thing.

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    So, startin' now we on vacation. Check back after the New Year for another year of articles, some more crude jokes about kissing fresh babies, plenty of Mouth-On impressions of chalky inedible garbage, angry, disheveled rants about points of minor consequence, and maybe even some big surprises. Enjoy your Nintendo tapes everyone, and may the season leave you in only the most minor mental disarray.

    Love,

    The N-Sider team
  • The top five best video games I ever got for Christmas!

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    When I was younger I almost never got new games. I had to luck out at the video store with weekend rentals, and I had the Hot Knowledge of Nintendo Tape Magazine to assist me in picks—though with the slim rental choices it more often than not came down to looking at box art. You and I both know that before you put a game on that Christmas list you had to have made damned sure it was an A+++ winner cause you were gonna have to play the hell out of it for the next year.

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    It also just so happens that the years during which I was at the really great Christmas present age were also some of the greatest times in gaming history, as the industry was really starting to find itself and make big strides in technology and innovation. I suppose people have vivid memories of that age, and maybe it's for that combination of reasons that I can remember virtually every game I got from Santy Claus. What follows is a little tour through the five that stuck with me the most, a week away from Christmas, a little bit of lookin' back to the good ol' days before we say sayonara to another year. The greatest video game Christmas presents of my life (and maybe some of yours, too)!!
  • Crimson Shroud is a guy on a porch whittling a stick

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    Maybe it's cause of the kind of person I am—and I'm not saying I am necessarily a whimpering, masochistic weakling who craves being witness to the expert display of the skills and talents of others—but I have always kind of been entranced by storytellers. People who create works for others to experience. But also maybe expert tour-guides? Sketch artists? People with plans, masters of their crafts, no matter how small they are. Sometimes there's this guy down the row who hand-grinds coffee, I just freeze in my seat and listen to it and I feel kinda chills or something, I love it. People stamping their little seals on books in rhythm, librarians? I just sit there and listen, I am like, boy I sure hope you don't run out of books. Is this outta line here? I guess we all kind of slip into our own unexpected fantasy trances from time to time.

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    On the subject! It's really hard for me to totally sell myself to fantasy worlds these days, to really let myself go. Part of it is because I try to write, myself, and I can't help but see "the construct" whenever I'm playing a game, reading a story, watching a movie. These things feel different to me than they must feel to others—I very rarely am able to get underneath and feel that Human Part, that exhibition of skill pandering to me, taking me by the hand and saying, come take a look at this. I cannot often sense The Creator behind it. Which is why this 3DS game Crimson Shroud has surprised me pretty good.
  • Wii U secrets: The R3 and L3 buttons don't have names!

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    You know those fancy buttons underneath the left and right sticks on the PlayStation 3 that are called R3 and L3? They don't actually have any names on the Wii U. The in-game documentation via prompts in Nintendo Land and Ninja Gaiden just say "Hold R" with a picture of a stick that has two little arrows above it. I think this is similar to what the 360 does maybe?

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    This shot's from the Internet browser, which has pictures that show the little "press in" arrow. Ninja Gaiden 3 uses a similar graphic. Notably, Nintendo Land never actually shows a picture with an arrow, just says "Press (picture of stick)." Whoa!

    So yep there's no official name. SECRETS

    Thanks for reading all our rump-grabbing Wii U secrets this week! Our regularly-scheduled programming returns on Monday!
  • Wii U secrets: You can message Miiverse administrators!

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    Not long after setting up my Miiverse information for the first time, I decided it was time to spruce up the decor a little bit by jazzin' out my profile message. While I was fond of the original "Do, Re, Egon" greeting, it was time to push the envelope a little bit. With the assistance of my favorite linguistic website, I pieced together a polite and affable greeting I'd be happy to show you, your girlfriend, or your grandmother's girlfriend: "He knew I couldn't wait to consume the battered roadkill off his veiny quim prod."

    I figured the relatively obsfucated nature of the literary stylings would keep it safe from both underpaid humans or underpowered robots, but it was apparently caught within minutes, for whatever reason. I had my suspicions that it may have been due to containing the word kill, until I later attempted to change my message to one that contained the word "farts" and was presented with an automatic message that prevented me from even entering it. Maybe it was the conjunction of the words road AND kill together that allowed it to dodge the filter? At any rate, the way it was handled was interesting: I received a message in my Miiverse sidebar from Miiverse Administration, which stated that my profile was determined to contain inappropriate content and the status was thus hidden from view. The message further stated that after I had read the code of conduct and changed it, I was supposed to send them a message back!

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    After I changed it to the much less threatening "Dinner roll," I clicked the "send message" button in the thread and was presented with a form offering me a series of pre-determined form statements I could give, some of them less complicit than others. It took a couple hours after that, but my profile was unblocked. Later, I posted a picture of Momiji's ludicrously gigantic kimono pillows among other photos which were almost 80% composed of blood and limbs, and received nine Yeahs without incident.

    So yes, these are real people who really see your stuff, and sometimes, they will even moderate your ass into the aether and wait for a reply. Something about it felt neat to me, even though I was already thinking of new ways to talk about my thrill drill exploring the recesses of a vintage golf bag.

    Check back tomorrow for one last(?) coma-breaking Wii U secret!
  • Wii U secrets: The games seem to all have version numbers!

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    Fire up your copy of New Super Mario Bros. U and you'll see it right there on the title screen, next to the prompt imploring you to PUSH 2 TO START even if you are using the normal actual controller that game with the Wii U, on which there is no "2" anywhere. Version 1.1.0, it says! Did you know that other games also include these version numbers prominently?

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    In Nintendo Land, all you have to do is go to the main menu, then click options. You can see it there at the bottom, 1.1.0. Even my downloaded copy of Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge contains a version number, this one also at the title screen. It was 1.0.1, not as good as the other games!! For a while anyway. Today's DLC update that added in Momiji changed the number to 1.1.0, officially as good as the other two games now. What is the deal though I wonder, do you suppose it is a mandate that your game has to feature a version number in a three number decimal-separated format? Has anyone else noticed version numbers in any other games?

    Whoa!

    Check back tomorrow for another grundle-tickling Wii U secret!