Debate: Best Nintendo Role Model?


If you had to pick one Nintendo character to model your life after, who would it be? Mario, for his faithful heroics? Link, for his courage and might? Simeon and Scott have each selected a role model, and it’s up to the viewer to decide who wins the debate!

“Exit the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Which Nintendo Character Am I? Scott's Thoughts

Today, I endeavor to discover which Nintendo character I identify with. I hope to find the perfect match, one that resonates and rings true. Without further ado…

Mario

I don’t think so. Mario is more like a father figure than an equal. He’s very sporty and multi-talented, which is in contrast to my narrow set of specialized skills. He wears loud clothing (especially in Super Mario Odyssey) and is a brave hero that throws himself into danger without a plan. All around: no. Not at all.

Link

Hyrule’s silent protagonist is a more likely match. He doesn’t waste any breath, which I appreciate, and he is guided by a strong sense of loyalty. Link always tries to do the right thing, and once he has found a noble cause, he applies himself and sees it through. These are all personality traits that I admire and (at least attempt to) share. However, Link is also quite the outdoorsy fellow, and can often be found traversing planes on horseback or scaling imposing mountains. He’s probably too adventurous to be considered my analog.

Donkey Kong

This big brown brute is way too strong to resemble me. He’s bigger, faster, and stronger, too, after all. I am none of those things.
DK is also easily pleased. All he needs is a pile of bananas to be content. First of all, I hate bananas because they make my mouth itchy. Second, I’m not in touch with the “simple pleasures” of life. I require technology, innovation, and the cutting edge. I wouldn’t no what to do with a stack of fruit in the jungle. Donkey kong can keep his lifestyle and I’ll keep mine, thank you very much!

Samus

Another strong contender, because like Link, Samus doesn’t say a whole lot. This is pleasing to my introverted tendencies. We’re both completely happy with alone time; in fact, this bounty hunter pretty much blasts anything alive until it stops moving. She doesn’t spend a lot of time outdoors, and she’s on top of the latest tech. I think we’d get along well.
There’s a pretty big difference that separates us, though. Samus is compassionate, and when push comes to shove, she lets even the most vicious creatures live when it means that their race will be spared. I don’t share that same level of empathy, unfortunately. But she’s currently leading the pack!

Captain Falcon

Captain Falcon enjoys everything I don’t; cars, speeding, rivalries, working out, yelling loudly, taunting people, wearing skin-tight unitards, and I could go on. Suffice it to say: FALCON NO!

Kirby

While I do enjoy eating a lot of food, the similarities end there. I am not round, cute, smiley, or cuddly, and I don’t look like a girl.

Tom Nook

Okay, this is a possibility. I do have an affinity for money, and I enjoy some aspects of business and entrepreneurship. But I hope I don’t match this raccoon’s level of greed, because he’s gone so far as to break child labor laws and employ underage animals at his store. He’s also after your real life $ bills now in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. Please tell me that I am not like Tom Nook.

Captain Olimar

He traverses alien planets and commands little living plants around all day (until the annoying timer runs out). I don’t think I’ve ever done anything like this.

Fox McCloud

I’m running out of options here, but Fox is promising. He also likes technology, leads a team, accepts missions and gets them done, etc. He’s got this huge amount of self-confidence and determination though, that I’m not sure I measure up to. Fox also spent a long leg of his life outside the cockpit, galavanting around Dinosaur Planet and acting like a low-rent hero of Hyrule.

However, there was one man (bird) that refused to leave the cockpit…
This guy knows what up. He prefers the air, and that’s where he stays (when he’s not shooting people up in Assault or smacking them silly in Smash Bros.). He has a narrow but deep skillset and can always be relied upon for bombs. He has a quick wit and isn’t afraid to crack a joke even in the face of danger. He appears cold on the outside, but deep down he cares for his friends and is always bummed when they get shot out of the sky. Falco is a loyal, skilled, sarcastic and cool wingman. I am Falco Lombardi!

Lessons for Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp Scott’s Thoughts

1. If I earn something, just give it to me. Don’t tell me I earned it, then explain how I have to tap through menus to retrieve my reward. Just give it to me.

2. Crafting is not the best thing since sliced bread. Just because Minecraft was super popular doesn’t mean everything needs to be crafted from now on.

3. Simplify the exchange rates. I don’t want to pay real money for leaf tickets to buy a mining pass to collect gold in order to exchange that for bells so that I can use the bells to purchase digital furniture. The expression is “cut out the middleman,” not “let’s create an army of middlemen.”

The Happiest Place on Earth

For many Nintendo fans, it is something of a rite of passage to visit the company’s only retail store in New York City. And when I mean “only”, I really mean it. The New York City store is the only retail storefront open to the public for Nintendo fans in the entire world. Every year, thousands of fans make the trek to the Big Apple to visit it. Why?

Because It’s Special

Nintendo New York (formerly known as the Nintendo World Store) is located in Rockefeller Plaza in the heart of the city. Before it transformed into a general Nintendo store, it was a Pokémon Center. For years, fans have made the drive or flight to visit the store. Sure, many come to New York for many other reasons, but stopping here is always a highlight. Some people, like myself, made the trip from Indiana specifically to go to the store, with other activities planned around it.

The store’s footprint is small… but it’s two stories, so the square footage is pretty sizable in the end. But the moment you walk in, you are in instant awe. Besides the eye-popping merchandise that smacks you in the face, the atmosphere and decorations just make you feel good.

Being the only Nintendo store in existence makes it special. It would still be special if others were to open up – which is what some fans are hoping for with the aforementioned renaming from Nintendo “World” Store to Nintendo “New York”. As it stands now, with only one store, it literally is akin to going to an amusement park, and you will look back on your visit there as fondly as if you had been to one.

Because It’s Fun

The Nintendo New York store is like nothing else. It is the hub of Nintendo goodness – one that you don’t even get when visiting the employees-only headquarters in Redmond, Washington, which I did when living in Seattle. If you are a longtime fan like myself, you will spend about a full minute just standing in the doorway with your mouth agape like I did. It is an amazing sight. The store just has a happy vibe to it – a Nintendo vibe, if you will. You are surrounded by beloved Nintendo characters, demo units, games, clothing and more. Much of the merchandise sold here is exclusive to the store. My traveling companion went wild in here when we went – she spent $471 before tax on plushies, T-Shirts, bags and more.

The store regularly holds fun launch events for major games. I was there in May of 2015, the day before the launch of the Wii U game Splatoon, and there was already a long line that stretched down the block in what would be almost 24 hours before the store opened on release day. They make game launches a huge deal with lots of fun, special guests, real life games and contests: they even held a mock fashion show for Style Savvy: Fashion Forward for instance. The pictures that accompany this post are from that time, and the interior has changed since the 2016 remodel.

On the second level you will find a small “museum” section. I believe they change them out every so often, but when I was there they had a section dedicated to the history of The Legend of Zelda with every imaginable game, manual, special edition console and accessories in a three section display case. In front of it was a “History of Nintendo Handhelds” exhibit with every portable console on display – even the obscure ones like the Game Boy Light (previously for sale only in Japan) and the Game Boy Micro. There were also a small aisle with individual cases for each of Nintendo’s home consoles from the NES to the Wii U.

The store is just flat out fun. It is fun to be in. I was in there for three full hours from 9am to just after noon, and it felt like I wasn’t there long enough. It’s a store that invites you to play and have fun, and celebrate Nintendo’s rich history without ever feeling too self-congratulatory. There is no Tom Nook stalking you around to pressure you to spend your bells on anything – you are free to be there as long as you want.

Because You Belong

Going to the store is not unlike going to a convention – everyone in there is a huge Nintendo fanatic, and it feels good to be around them. Your mileage may vary, but sometimes for me, it is tough to admit I am a Nintendo fan among my other gaming friends who specialize in Halo and Call of Duty. Nintendo is looked at as a console for kiddies, despite it being the original home to some of the best M-rated games ever like Eternal Darkness, the Resident Evil remake and Resident Evil 4. Admittedly, Nintendo has lagged behind in sheer hardware power for three console generations now, beginning with the Wii, then Wii U and now the Switch. But the draw of the Switch is its hybrid format of being a portable and a home console. I won’t talk about how awesome that is because if you like Nintendo, you are probably already aware.

But when you walk into Nintendo New York, you feel like you belong. No one will laugh at you for preferring Animal Crossing to Battlefield, or you spent over 100 hours playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe instead of organizing your Destiny clan. And just like going to a Comic-Con, you don’t have to be ashamed of your preferences. The store encourages you to have fun and enjoy yourself, and there is no better place to do it than surrounded by Mushroom Kingdom pipe decorations and giant Bowser statues.

Because It’s the Happiest Place on Earth

Forget Disneyland. The Nintendo New York store is the happiest place on Earth. For all of the reasons I mentioned above – but the bottom line is that it is just fun. It’s like an amusement park without the lines (unless, of course, you are there for a game launch event). The employees are friendly. The shoppers are friendly. The music is friendly. The plushies are all smiling at you, and not in a creepy, Five Nights at Freddy’s way. It is an excuse for kids to be kids, and for adults to be kids again too, because it’s impossible not to become awash in memories of your own childhood when in the store and seeing everything they have to offer.


Eric “Flapjack” Ashley has been a Nintendo fan for almost his entire life! While he also has a special place in his heart for Sega, it is Nintendo that gets him worked up and the franchises that capture his imagination and wonder. Flapjack is hopelessly in love with Animal Crossing. When he is not playing video games, he is a social media guru, assisting numerous organizations with their outreach and promotions, and he is also a big horror movie buff. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @flapjackashley.

So… Let’s try this “Stardew Valley” Thing


Scott’s grandpa just died and left him a farm (Two Button Crew Farm, to be precise) to inherit. After clearing out some dead branches, bushes, and rocks, Scott was ready to plant a few parsnips. But he has no idea what he’s doing, and there’re a bunch of neighbors in the city nearby that he’s yet to meet. Oh, and he hasn’t eaten in 7 days. How will Scott survive? Watch to find out!

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Guilty Pleasure Games

Game of Pwns.


#578 – Make sure you watch to the end of this one – Simeon shares something super embarrassing and HILARIOUS!

Footage credit: cobanermani456, kngdmhrts3MvG, Super Best Friends Play

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Why I Love Nintendo

Contrary to popular opinion from the outside, being a Nintendo fan is not always mushrooms and sunshine. It can be unforgiving, inviting ridicule from fellow gamers, the gaming community, message board commenters, and even friends and family. But being a Nintendo fan is always worth it for me, which leads to the question I get a lot: Why Do You Like Nintendo?

From Sega to Nintendo

My gaming history stretches back to the glorious 16-bit Console Wars between the Nintendo and Sega. I owned both, but I got more use out of my Sega Genesis because kids at school would make fun of me if they knew I liked Nintendo. Sega was cool. Sega was hip. Sonic was fast with attitude and Mario was slow and boring. Secretly, I liked Nintendo as well, but my heart was with Sega. I also owned a Nintendo 64, but I had a Sega Saturn as well and that was my priority. This lasted all the way until the Dreamcast was discontinued, and my gaming tastes defaulted back to Big N.

The current console at that time was the GameCube, which ended up being Nintendo’s second lowest selling home console in history. Sony’s PlayStation brand and Microsoft’s Xbox were the new hip kids on the block, and Nintendo was accused of being a kiddie machine. Outside of a few games that were geared towards a mature gamer – like the then-GCN exclusive Resident Evil 4, Geist and a few others… the GameCube got most of its milage out of family friendly games. If you didn’t like twenty Mario Party games, the GameCube was not for you.

But it was during this era something was rekindled inside me. While Sony and Microsoft began to push online gaming, Nintendo doubled down and continued to focus on the fun of couch multiplayer – games you can play with friends in person and have a blast.

During the very successful Wii era, Nintendo’s dedication to multiplayer games was at its peak. Wii Sports, perhaps the best pack-in game ever, was a prime example of the kind of fun video games could represent. Despite how much it can be ridiculed now, I defy anyone to say that their first few times playing Wii Sports was not fun. It was a lot of fun. That’s what propelled the Wii to sales of over 100 million worldwide.

The Wii U somewhat faltered in this aspect, but the new Switch console has put a heavy emphasis on it again, with games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ARMS and Splatoon 2 all out within the first few months of the system’s debut. Gaming is fun again.

Soooo, Why Do I Love Nintendo?

All that being said, I love Nintendo because, to me, it just represents a good time. When I think of the PlayStation 4 or the Xbox One, I think of shooters like Call of Duty or games like Grand Theft Auto. I’m not saying those games have no worth, or that they aren’t entertaining or even visually astounding… but when I want to just have a fun time with friends, or a game I can just pick up and play at any given moment without an investment of 40 hours a week I choose Nintendo. Gaming shouldn’t always feel like a chore where I am punching a time clock to advance.

Certainly, Nintendo does have games that fall into that category. The recent and highly-reviewed The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild does for sure as it is an adventure game much in the style of Skyrim, but where I feel Nintendo separates itself from its competitors is how that genre of games isn’t all they have. There are more than just adventure and sports games on the Switch this year. There is also fun.

Take a very simple game like Snipperclips, a co-op puzzle game in which you play as pieces of paper and you have to snip each other in order to match certain shapes or get objects from one side of the screen to the other. It sounds simple enough, but its magic is in the gameplay. I haven’t had so much fun in a co-op game in a long time… it was fun, funny, and charming – and challenging as well, as the game progressed. It’s a game that you and your significant other can play, or your younger sibling or cousin. It is the epitome of what beloved Nintendo President Satoru Iwata always believed video games should be – It’s fun for everyone.

Nintendo’s roster of happy characters and cute enemies just bring a smile to my face. I’ve used this word before, but looking at the E3 trailer for the upcoming Super Mario Odyssey is just pure magic. It is what I call “Nintendo Magic.” Playing their games can make anyone forget their troubles for an amount of time and make everyone feel like a kid again. Personally speaking, I struggle with depression and anxiety, so my choice to play games of this nature is not only a preference but a very meaningful choice as well. Nintendo makes me smile.

Their first-party games are consistently of very high quality. Sometimes their franchises don’t progress enough, but then they hit you with a Breath of the Wild or a Super Mario Odyssey, which completely changes your expectations and takes you by surprise. And I will never get tired of them.

Standing Strong

It isn’t easy being a Nintendo fan. When the two other major consoles are blowing the doors off the building with the latest Call of Duty, Metro or Assassin’s Creed games, Nintendo creates buzz with Mario or cartoonish characters like in ARMS. This comes with a price, because Nintendo and their fans are easy targets. Buying some Nintendo content can result in a mocking comment from a cashier – a friend recently told of a McDonald’s cashier laughing when he went to order a Mario Happy Meal toy to complete his collection. Playing Nintendo games can mean ridicule from people who like to point out that Nintendo’s consoles dating back to the Wii have not been in the same league as competing systems as far as power and graphics.

All of this, though, can make fans even more dedicated. There is a reason that small groups popped up around the world in major cities for 3DS gamers to swap streetpasses and puzzle pieces and play Mario Kart 7 with each other. There is a reason why holding a meet-up for the newest Animal Crossing game attracted more than dozens of people at every stop during a Nintendo Mall Tour. There is a reason why VANS made a very successful line of Nintendo themed shoes last summer. There is a reason why people love their franchises so much that just a simple title card for Metroid Prime 4 at E3 made the internet meltdown in a frenzy of wild, screaming excitement. There is a reason why people love the company so much that even PR reps (like Bill Trinen or Kit and Krysta from Nintendo Minute) are elevated to near-celebrity status. There is a reason that Nintendo can get away with having one single retail store in New York City and fans will travel from all over to visit it as if they were going to Disney World. The ridicule and snubbing we tend to get from other gamers and game publishers who skip developing games for Nintendo systems just makes me feel like connecting with other Nintendo fans is a major event. We are a community of fans who feel slighted in one way or another, and it makes us feel like we are all in this together. It is so much fun to get in a group of fellow fans and just talk about anything and everything. Attending a Nintendo Switch Preview Event in Chicago this past February was fun in part because of trying out the then-yet-to-be-released system, but largely because of being surrounded by fans, talking about games, seeing people dressed up in Nintendo cosplay, and just being one with the excited community. It was not unlike the feeling you get going to a Comic-Con – it just felt right.

Nintendon’t Sometimes, and That’s Okay

This is not to say that competing systems don’t have dedicated communities or “fun” games, nor does it mean that Nintendo is perfect and doesn’t have any faults. But Nintendo doesn’t play by anyone’s rules but their own. Sometimes that can be a bad thing, but I feel it is mostly a positive. They focus on fun, they focus on being together, and they focus on gaming together. There is a level of fun that online playing just can’t compete in comparison to couch multiplayer. Hitting someone with a red shell in Mario Kart, or stealing all of their stars in Mario Party may be the source of “ruined friendship” memes, but the competition of playing right next to a friend is just a level of satisfaction that can’t be matched. Even though I enjoy a fair share of “mature” games, I will almost always choose the fun of Super Mario Odyssey over the carnage of a Grand Theft Auto. And I will definitely choose a company that will always continue to offer those games to me even when they offer the M-rated stuff.

The Nintendo Magic is why I fell in love with Nintendo. It’s why I put up with some of their occasionally questionable decisions. Their games, characters, and universe just never cease to make me smile and it makes me happy… and isn’t that what gaming is supposed to be about?


Eric “Flapjack” Ashley has been a Nintendo fan for almost his entire life! While he also has a special place in his heart for Sega, it is Nintendo that gets him worked up and the franchises that capture his imagination and wonder. Flapjack is hopelessly in love with Animal Crossing. When he is not playing video games, he is a social media guru, assisting numerous organizations with their outreach and promotions, and he is also a big horror movie buff. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @flapjackashley.

Population Growing: The Wonderful Legacy of Animal Crossing

One of Nintendo’s biggest and most popular franchises is also one of the hardest to explain why it is so beloved. When people find out that I love video games and ask me what my favorite one is, my reply is “Animal Crossing” – and the response is usually one of bemusement and bewilderment. People on the outside looking in don’t see what the big deal is. Why do I love Animal Crossing so much? What is it about this game that sets millions of people into a frenzy when a new installment is announced? Well, get your bells ready and let’s take a closer look…

Humble Beginnings

Animal Crossing debuted in North America on the Nintendo GameCube console in the fall of 2002. Nintendo has always had a reputation of being a “family friendly” (many read as “kiddie”) company – beginning with the controversial censorship of Mortal Kombat on the Super Nintendo, even though the subsequent installments had all the violence and blood that the game came with. The GameCube itself was small like a lunch box and had a handle for crying out loud with little tiny mini-discs. Kiddie? You couldn’t exactly argue against it.

A game like Animal Crossing is hard to market for, and when I saw the game in my local Electronics Boutique, I asked the cashier what it even was. Her reply was “It’s hard to describe. I’d say it’s like a Sims game but with animals.”

I love Sim games, and I love animals, so this sales pitch was a home run. The game came with a bonus memory card that included a “gift” on it for use in-game. After years of over-exposure to Mario and Zelda games, I was all excited to dive into a new Nintendo IP. I was ready to be entertained – but at first, the result was just the opposite.

Booting up the game started what felt like an inane game of Twenty Questions, as you were asked stuff like your name, if you were a boy or a girl, etc. I wanted to play a game, not go through the most basic of setups. After this unwanted pop quiz, the first major character you run into after the setup screens are finished was a raccoon named Tom Nook. Many longtime fans dislike poor old Tom, and with good reason – he is an unfriendly jerk and doesn’t even really do a good job of explaining the game to players (which was his entire function). I did a lot of planting flowers, planting fruit and other mundane tasks, and about 20 minutes into the game, I was wondering where the fun was hiding.

But once you are freed from Tom Nook’s “tutorial”, the world of Animal Crossing begins to open up. The comparisons to the Sims became more evident as you are encouraged to expand and decorate your own house, meet neighbors and become social with them… your interactions with them will have a definite outcome on their lives, too.

Throwback Any Day

Every budding franchise debut needs a hook, and Animal Crossing’s hook was a doozy. The player had the ability to find and play original NES games within your character’s house – games like Pinball, Donkey Kong, Excitebike, and hidden gems The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros (both of which were never officially made available and need a cheat device to unlock). This predated the Virtual Console on the Wii and Wii U (and hopefully the Nintendo Switch), it represented the first time in a major mainstream fashion that old classic games could be played, full-screen, on a then-current console was mind-blowing. Collecting the NES titles became a game within the game. Retro games would not turn up in subsequent entries in the series, unfortunately.

Friendship Is Love

Beyond the retro hook, the one thing that kept me coming back to the game was the emphasis on community and building friendships. Talking with your animal neighbors daily and doing small favors for them allow the player to establish relationships in the game that really feel like friendships. Like in real life, you tend to open up to someone new on a bit-by-bit basis, and that is how it works in Animal Crossing. Using the GameCube’s internal clock, the game is advertised that it “keeps playing even when you aren’t,” and that’s true. Skip a couple days of playing and the game knows it – villagers will say the missed you, dreaded weeds will grow that you’ll need to pluck. The game would also change with the seasons and celebrate major holidays. It is taken for granted now, but this mechanic really was pretty groundbreaking at the time. It pushed me to check in every day and I would actually feel guilty if I didn’t.

I knew at this point that I was experiencing something special, and I became a fan of the subsequent entries in the series.

World Traveler

The game’s sequels – Wild World for the Nintendo DS and City Folk for the Nintendo Wii – introduced online play to the franchise to great results. Wild World also stripped out the NES games you could find and play, as well as the holiday celebrations, which was a very odd and saddening choice. I initially thought having Animal Crossing on a tiny portable system was a really dumb idea – but this is one area I was happy to be wrong in… having a game that is tied to the internal clock makes perfect sense to be on a portable system. I could check in on my town anywhere and not just at home during a dedicated gaming session on the couch.

Hopping online, you could visit a friend’s town, see their house, and talk to their villagers. It may not seem like much, but this addition opened up (pun alert) a whole world of fun, and made me want my house to be at its best for guests. The villagers would even talk to you about people who have visited after they leave.

It’s the little things that make a difference.

The Wii game, City Folk, was very similar to Wild World, all the way down to the hourly music used… but added a small city area you could travel to and shop in.

Saturday Night Fever

Speaking of music, one of the best aspects of the franchise is its use of original music. Each hour has a different theme, as do many holidays and special events. I have an entire playlist of nothing but Animal Crossing music from the various games and it always brings a smile to my face. Of course, I can’t talk about music without mentioning AC’s resident musician, K.K. Slider. He appears every Saturday night in various places depending on the game, and he always delivers the hippest music to the people…or, rather, the animals.

Hail to the Chief

The most recent mainline game in the franchise, Animal Crossing: New Leaf launched on the Nintendo 3DS in 2013 (2012 in Japan) and truly became a major franchise for Nintendo. It is proven to have boosted sales of the handheld and has gone on to sell over 9 million copies worldwide, and counting. New Leaf introduced a few new wrinkles that many fans have embraced: the ability to be Mayor and construct unique designs and extras in your town, thus taking overall customization to a whole new level. But best of all was the introduction of Isabelle – your trusty and loyal secretary who is your town’s biggest cheerleader.

As much as I love the other games, I would have to pick New Leaf as being the best Animal Crossing to date. In fact, it is not only my favorite Animal Crossing game but also my favorite game of all time overall. Yes, I love it that much.

Nintendo seems to realize the popularity of the series as well. 2015 brought an immense amount of marketing to the franchise. amiibo cards (used with the 3DS spin-off Happy Home Designer) that invoke memories of Game Boy Advance eReader cards that were incorporated with Wild World, made its debut… and its own amiibo figure line began to roll out as well. Mario Kart 8 (and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe) has a beautifully designed race track based in the Animal Crossing universe.

Not everything has been a hit, however. The aforementioned spin-offs, Happy Home Designer and (especially) amiibo Festival, were poorly received and had low sales. And speaking of low sales, the amiibo cards were popular at the beginning, but the actual amiibo figure line struggled – partially due to being associated with such a bad game – and many can be had for as low as $2 new on clearance. Animal Crossing ran the risk of overexposure because Nintendo, rather than give us a new game, decided to make the curious move and develop a couple of spin-offs that no one wanted. In an effort to possibly make it up to angry fans, an update to New Leaf was issued in 2016 that added amiibo support and a number of new features.

And even with all of that, I’m still anxiously anticipating the next full entry on the Nintendo Switch with baited breath.

Population: Growing 

Animal Crossing (along with Pikmin) was, up until Splatoon in 2015, the last big original Nintendo IP that took off and became a huge success. I think it is more than worthy to sit alongside legendary franchises like Mario, Zelda and Pokémon. Its fan base continues to grow with each new game. It is often one of the most requested titles for any new Nintendo console launch – as evidenced by the number of disappointed people when an Animal Crossing announcement for the Nintendo Switch was not realized at E3 2017. I have spent more time than I care to admit playing various games the series and I still can’t fully explain what it is to friends when they ask. But I am okay with that… all of its charm, quirks, and addictiveness – it’s part of what makes Animal Crossing so warmly unique.

Are you an Animal Crossing fan? What is it about the series that has made you a fan?


Eric “Flapjack” Ashley has been a Nintendo fan for almost his entire life! While he also has a special place in his heart for Sega, it is Nintendo that gets him worked up and the franchises that capture his imagination and wonder. Eric is hopelessly in love with Animal Crossing. When he is not playing video games, he is a social media guru, assisting numerous organizations with their outreach and promotions, and he is also a big horror movie buff. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @flapjackashley.

Games that Would Be Perfect for Switch!

Isn’t it great to see an episode fully hosted by members of the greater Crew body? That intro sure seems out of place though…


The January Switch Presentation is right around the corner, in which Nintendo will fully unveil their new home/portable console hybrid. A huge portion of this presentation is going to be fully dedicated to the games that surround the console’s launch window, because we gamers have to know what software is going to support this new hardware! After all, we only know of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, an unnamed Mario adventure, and a few third-party titles that belong to publishers who have been sworn to secrecy. It’s time to take a close look at what games belong on the Switch as a perfect fit – games that will take advantage of this console’s unique abilities!

Shot by Alex Campbell

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

What We Want: Animal Crossing Mobile

Well Simeon certainly isn’t in the #AC4LIFE club, now is he?!


Animal Crossing is heading to iPhone and Android before March of 2017, so we better hurry up and get our last minute requests into Nintendo so they can direct the shape of the game! Hah, just kidding. But it would be really nice to see the features that we discuss make it into the final DeNA game. Also, will there be a new Animal Crossing Switch game to accompany the launch of Nintendo’s new hardware? Time will tell!

Shot by Alex Campbell

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Nintendo’s Most Generous Offers

On Thanksgiving day, what could be more appropriate than recounting the generosity of Nintendo for which we are so thankful?


In the USA, today is the wonderful Holiday of Thanksgiving! So in a reflective episode, we take the time to think back on the times that Nintendo has been the most generous. Sure, we understand that they are a business and they have to make money in order to stay afloat and continue to provide us with great experiences… Yet! This video contains some great examples of Nintendo going out of their way to make customers feel valued and important, and for those we are very thankful.

Shot by Alex Campbell

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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What are the Best Games to Play in Autumn?

We missed Halloween by a few days. Oh well!


Autumn, fall, whatever YOU call it – the question is, what do you play during the season? We’ve got a list of timely games to play that might surprise you.

Shot by Alex Campbell

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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Seasonal Gaming

With the autumn season upon us, what initially comes to mind? For most, probably colder weather, leaves falling, pumpkin spice x (where x = everything), hoodies, haunted houses, Halloween, and so on. I greatly appreciate the fall season and everything that comes with it. In fact, it’s probably my favorite season. But for me, it’s more than black cats and apple cider. It’s a time where I can enjoy certain types of video games at their best. Nintendo is absolutely fantastic at creating games that burst with seasonal energy. That is; games that display the best a season has to offer.

Of course, every game does it differently. Being the season that it is, I’ll start with the original Luigi’s Mansion for the GameCube. This game is built around one theme: a haunted house. My October would not be complete if I didn’t spend a weekend replaying through this game with the lights off. Not because it’s terrifying, but because for me, this is how the game should be played. I just get so much more out of it. Playing this game on a hot mid-summer night, or when snow is flying just doesn’t feel right. When running through the mansion vacuuming up ghosts and exploring dark rooms, I want to be able to look out my window and see colorful leaves. Another fall favorite of mine is Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. Why? This answer why may not be as obvious, but here it is: the chapter “For Pigs the Bell Tolls.” Yes, I know that there is a chapter where Mario travels to a tropical island and where there is snow, but making the trek to the Creepy Steeple (about 5 times), to me, is the most defining chapter. Everything about that section: the music, the characters, the lighting, the setting, creates a perfect Halloween experience.

Admittedly, I am biased when it comes to what season a game should be played because some of it has to do when the game came out, and my nostalgia for a game always peaks based on what time of the year I played through it and enjoyed it for the first time. The Thousand Year Door was released in October (yes, I may be a bit weird about my timely nostalgia). But seriously, if you haven’t experienced this glorious gem, there is no better time than now, and when you get to chapter 4, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

And of course, there are games like Animal Crossing, where the game is set up to follow the time of year no matter what, so it can be played to the maximum level of enjoyment all year. This game has become immensely popular, and I attribute that a lot to what I referred to above as seasonal energy. It just feels right. Nintendo was brilliant to realize this and capitalize off of it. I remember playing the game and running around my town on Halloween looking for Jack, hearing my real world doorbell ring, and passing out candy to kids. This created a full 360° experience for me, and I’ll never forget it.

I won’t make a complete list of games I like to play during specific seasons, but here are just a few others that really stick out: Mario Baseball (spring/summer), Super Mario Sunshine (summer), Banjo Kazooie (fall/winter), Resident Evil 4 (fall), Splatoon (summer), Pikmin (any season – these games capture them all greatly), Wii Sports Resort (summer), Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (all but winter), and Kirby’s Epic Yarn (winter).

Lastly, the intention of this write-up is not to tell you when you can and can’t enjoy a game. Of course, this is 100% subjective, and everyone is going to have a different take. If you enjoy cleaning off Isle Delfino in the middle of winter to get some virtual sun and cure those winter blues, more power to you. I would love to hear comments about certain times of year you prefer what games, or if you don’t care at all and anytime is the best time. Now excuse me as I eat a freshly picked honey crisp apple and take on King Boo.


About the author: Matt has been a Nintendo fan since 1996 after his parents got him a Nintendo 64 with Super Mario 64. His love for gaming took off from there with games such as Diddy Kong Racing and Banjo Kazooie. When not playing video games, Matt can be found cycling, golfing, playing with his cat, reading math books, and partaking in anything nerdy. Once in a great while, he even may play a game that is… gulp… out of season.

What are the Best New 3DS Faceplates? #2

Sorry that Simeon is so racist. :(


Since our first list of New 3DS faceplates, Nintendo and third parties have pumped out a much larger selection for us to pick from! Here are the most artistic faceplates we could gather.

Shot by Alex Campbell

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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Crazy Amiibo Requests

Can we please just have amiibo chips in everything?


Can you ever have too many amiibo? NO! Especially if they are very unique, like the ones we are officially requesting Nintendo to produce. We will preorder promptly when they are announced!

Shot by Alex Campbell

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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Most Memorable Non-Playable Characters

Scott really needs to finish Metroid Fusion.


They may not be the main protagonist or your sworn enemy, but our games wouldn’t be the same without them. It’s TBC’s most memorable NPCs!

Shot by Alex Campbell

“Reformat” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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NX Animal Crossing Ideas!

Sometimes it feels like we’re Worlds Apart, Ryan <3


Today Ryan talks about some ideas for Nintendo’s next Animal Crossing release!

Shot by Alex Campbell

“Reformat” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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Animal Crossing HHD Review

Episodes with all three members of the Crew are the best!

Ryan joins Simeon & Scott to discuss the newly released Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer and amiibo cards!

Shot by Alex Campbell

“Reformat” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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The Wrong Animal Crossing Main Character

Animal Crossing fun fact: Scott bought this game used for his older sister as a Christmas present. Becuase it was previously owned, he had no shame in playing it until Christmas morning and then gifting it to his sister. Smart thinking, Scott!

Random Nintendo-Platform Game + Random Topic = The Mystery Block. Wasn’t that just the worst, when you got off the Animal Crossing train and you were faced with your own ugly mug? Or did you get lucky? Let us know!

Shot by Alex Campbell

“Reformat” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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